In our Winter 2017/2018 issue, the Tantric writer, visionary and teacher Dawn Cartwright wrote a beautiful article on the ancient Tantric rituals that inspired modern dating practices, and why we need to bring the sacred, intentional qualities of these rituals back into our lives today. Here, we share this article in its entirety. Dawn will offer Fragrance of the Lotus Tantra Teacher Training from April 19th-28th, 2019, in Wicklow and Weaving the Beloveds for Couples during the May Bank Holiday Weekend on the Wild Atlantic Way. To book your place or learn more about Dawn’s work, go to her website dawncartwright.com.
Bringing Dating Back: The Transcendent Quality of Intentional Intimacy
By Dawn Cartwright
Where and when did the ritual of dating begin? Is it time to bring dating back?
Each morning, just before dawn, Tantric adepts in every Tantra temple in the world present five specific offerings to the deity. First, sandalwood powder is smoothed on the deity’s forehead and feet. Then, a mantra is sung while flowers, gathered from the temple gardens, are offered. Fragrant incense is lit, oil lamps illuminate the deity’s face, and sweets, dripping with honey and ghee, touch the deity’s lips. Sandalwood, mantra, incense, lamps and sweets: the Pancha Upacaras, a Sanskrit phrase that means, “five moments of access”. Five offerings purposefully chosen to awaken the five senses, allowing the devotee “five moments of access” to an elevated experience of the world.
Simple rituals such as this compose a twilight language rich in meaning and significance. Esoteric practices are known to reveal the extraordinary within the ordinary through simple means. While it may seem as if the Pancha Upacaras are offered to awaken the deity from her slumber, it is the adept whose senses are awakened, triggering a heightened state of consciousness – revealing the sublime within the mundane. Much the way one would greet an honoured guest in their home, the deity is welcomed into the temple each morning, and the devotee catches a glimpse of the divine within.
Perhaps owing to the romantic nature of the human heart, or the longing each of us has to touch the ineffable quality of love, the Pancha Upacaras, a ritual enacted since the beginning of time, eventually found its way into every corner of the world. These five offerings are the roots of hospitality and compose the traditional elements of successful dating.
In the chilly pre-dawn mist, the Tantric deity becomes more beautiful with each flower-laden moment. Beauty that exists because it is seen. Beauty seen because it is invited and welcomed, because it has already been awakened within the one who extends the invitation. Just as a tree that falls without a witness cannot make a sound, beauty, though it is certainly there, cannot be experienced without the observer. We create the beauty we see in the world and each other through our endeavour: in this case by awakening the five senses to see it. Dating and hospitality were originally meant to deepen our connection with those we revere, without expectation or goal.
Not so very long ago dating meant affection, flowers and chocolates. Candlelight, serenades and perfume. The very same offerings that compose the Pancha Upacaras. Today, dating has been reduced to “hanging out” and online chat rooms. Devotion seems to have gone by the wayside and the transcendent quality we all long for in dating has all but disappeared.
Is it time to bring dating back? If so, what would that look like?
It is time to bring dating back and here’s how. The Pancha Upacaras uplift the senses, open the heart and create loving connection. These five steps, created from the origins of love, thousands and thousands of years ago, bring the magic back.
1st . Sandalwood . Gandha . Touch
The ancient Tantra practitioners knew the importance of focused attention as a catalyst for transcendent experiences of all kinds. Once you’ve established you’re attracted, the next step is to turn your attention toward the one you’re attracted to. That might be the person you see every morning at the coffee shop, or the person sitting right across from you at breakfast if you’re married. Look up. Take in this glorious human. Touch with your attention.
2nd . Flowers & Mantras . Pushpa . Hearing
Do you have time for dating? Very few people do. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or married for years, relationships, even budding ones, need time. Set aside time. Make a point to say the name of your date now and then when you’re speaking to them. Everyone’s name is their personal mantra, music to their ears. Bring flowers.
3rd . Incense & Perfume . Dhoopa . Smell
Does your date love coffee? Flowers? Spices? Create a date that’s a mystical journey of the senses, focusing on the sense of smell. Visit a coffee importer, a flower market, an exotic spice shop. Fragrance is the most powerful bonding memory of all.
4th . Oil Lamps & Candle Light . Deepa . Sight
The easiest step of all – make sure there’s candlelight. The soft glow of candlelight brings out the beauty in everyone, and has the power to open the heart.
5th . Sweets & Chocolates . Naivedya . Taste
Hand-selected chocolates or macaroons entice the senses and ignite feelings of attraction and desire, whether your date is a woman or man. Sweets nourish the spirit and elevate the experience of love.
Dawn Cartwright is a Tantric visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in bio-energetic Tantra fusion. Dawn will offer Fragrance of the Lotus Tantra Teacher Training from April 19th-28th, 2018, in Wicklow and Weaving the Beloveds for Couples during the May Bank Holiday Weekend on the Wild Atlantic Way. To book your place, go to: www.dawncartwright.com.