Tantra is not only about sexual pleasure, tantric massage, worship etc. It is also about the spirit & mind. As a special tantric gift, we invite you to use the attached Appreciation Ritual to strengthen your relationship.
The Appreciation Ritual
This is a short, simple, but very moving ritual to strengthen and affirm a relationship.
Each partner prepares for the ritual in advance by thinking of three things they especially love about the other. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the three most important things, and there is of course no suggestion that there are only three things you love about each other – these three simply stand for all the rest. Then, think of one thing you would like your partner to teach you. This is explained in more detail below.
One important aspect of tantra is the idea that our partner can be a teacher for us to help us become more whole. When we fall in love with someone, we usually see in them qualities that we are missing. As we don’t have them or feel them inside ourselves, we seek them outside, in the other, not consciously but unconsciously. Psychology calls this process positive projection. This is all well and good, if we don’t stop there. If the quality that we seek stays outside ourselves in the other, then we are in a position of dependency, and we will come at some point to resent this. If both partners are not integrating their positive projections onto each other, this leads to a phenomenon called “delegation”, where the different qualities of each partner harden into fixed roles. A typical example of delegation is that the woman becomes the emotional person, having all the feelings for both partners, while the man takes on the role of the practical person, the Mr. Fix-it. He, of course, never cries and she can’t change the gas bottle.
In the ancient tantric texts, the God Shiva is a teacher for his consort Parvati (a manifestation of Shakti), but at other times it is she who teaches him, and he listens and questions her respectfully. It is important for the balance of a relationship that we can learn from each other, and it is important for our completeness and independence that we learn those skills or develop in ourselves those qualities that we love and admire in our partner. In this way the relationship becomes a path of growth; it is part of the spiritual dimension of relationship whose purpose is to guide us to becoming a whole person, balanced in our masculine and feminine sides. For the man, the meeting with his female partner helps him develop his inner woman, and for the woman, the meeting with her partner helps her to develop her inner man. In this way, the relationship is not based on dependency and need, but on fullness and love.
So, for our ritual, each partner thinks of one thing they love or admire about their partner that they would like to learn from them.
Next, we create sacred space. This can done perhaps by placing a couple of cushions facing each other with a candle to each side. The ritual begins with a heart salutation (namaste). Then shakti, the woman, speaks, calling her partner by his name:
John, what I love about you is…
Using this deliberately formal expression each time, she tells him the three things she has chosen to exemplify her love for him.
He then does the same, calling her by name and using the same formulaic expression.
Sara, what I love about you is…
It is important to take your time and let the words really resonate. Speak them seriously, even if the solemnity makes you suddenly want to giggle: it is a pity to disperse the energy, because this is a declaration of love and an expression of intimacy.
Shakti, the woman, then speaks again:
John, what I would like you to teach me is…
And after hearing her, he in his turn states:
Sara, what I would like you to teach me is…
Then this tiny but powerful ritual is concluded with another heart salutation and perhaps a kiss and an embrace.
The whole thing takes barely five minutes, but it creates an energy of great openness and intimacy. We find it easy to find plenty of words for our problems. It is good to express positivity, our love and our appreciation of each other, and to make conscious the process of seeing your partner as a mirror, by looking into which you can grow in your own self.
If you have enjoyed this ritual and would like other rituals and more information about how to deepen your relationship through tantric principles, we invite you to join our mailing list.