One of the esoteric Orders I work within is that of The Arcane Magical Order of the Knights of Shambhala a group that has its roots in the Tantric lineages of the 9th century. This order combines two streams of Tantric initiation, that of the Uttara Kaula (the Shakta or Goddess focused Clan) and the Nath cult of Matsyendranath (a broadly Shivite form of tantrism). In the modern age these traditions of practice were developed by the work of Mike Magee (Lokanath) and John Power (Vilasanath). These people had in turn been inspired by the explorations of H H Shri Gurudev Mahendranath, aka “Dadaji”, aka Lawrence Miles (1911–1992) who famously was advised by Crowley to ‘go east young man!’ (ie to India) in order to learn about magick. Mahendranath blended Western Occultism and Paganism (including the Thelemic cosmology of Crowley) and Tantric styles. Thus initiating an inspirational corpus of writings which is essentially an esoteric fusion cuisine baked somewhere between 93 and 108 degrees.
Although AMOOKOS has perhaps one of the longest and most defensible lineages of initiation claimed by any occult group in the west (probably) the Order itself is far from a formal affair. An initiation process exists and this is predicated in part on following a recommended course of study but, more importantly, on the development of a relationship between the aspirant and their Sumitra (spiritual friend).
Though this form of esoteric practice is over a thousand years old, and has migrated from India, Nepal and Tibet into the West (before the current wave of Vajrayana Buddhism in Europe and America as described by the recent film When the Iron Bird Flies) it is still a little known organisation. The main reason for this is that the spirit of the lineage itself finds its own way. Current Naths are (generally) supremely disinterested in encouraging would-be members to do the work, become initiates, or get involved in any way. Some claim that this attitude is a clever smokescreen to ensure that only those with a real commitment to mastering the secrets of tantra stick it out long enough to receive Diksha.
Many of the AMOOKOS-style practices themselves are (like the sex magick secrets of the OTO) only known to those who have undergone initiation, or have access to the internet. They are also (like many good things) often very simple. Here’s one I’ve been getting into over the last few months…
There are many variations of this practice.
The essential technique is to sit in a meditative posture (Padmasana is usual but Vajrasana may be used also) after at least 30 minutes of hot body work (Ashtanga yoga for instance), and before adopting Shavasana.
The hand is placed so that the index finger is in contact with the ajnachakra and the thumb is used to seal the right nostril. Breath is taken in through the left nostril. This stimulates and cleans the lunar (Ida) channels of the body. The breath comes into the body and fills it, eventually entering the Muladhara chakra and stimulating Kundalini.
The breath is now directed out of the body through the right nostril (the thumb seals the left nostril). In this way the lunar channel is both filled and flushed, cleansing the psycho-sexual-energetic organism. During this process the lunar energy of the breath must be sensed. The tantrika should be able to discern the form of the lunar power (which will depend on the phase of the moon, the age and health of the practitioners body and many other factors). It may appear as the cold, blue-white wyrd glow of the moon. Or the pearlised milk of the divine Mother. It may have a felt sense (for example cool and fresh) rather than a visual form, or may manifest as a sound. The practitioner should pay attention to any changes in colour or other imaginary manifestations of the air as it leaves the right nostril. These often indicate the presence of spiritual obstructions that this practice seeks to dissolve. It may be necessary to hold the inhalation for a few moments to allow the ida breath to pool at the root of the shushumna and have time to radiate its power throughout the body.
The lunar breath is maintained until there is no discernable difference in quality between the inbreath and the outbreath. The ida has percolated fully through the subtle body, cleansing the nadis, so that the energy exiting the body carries no hint of impurity.
This process is then repeated, this time breathing in through the right nostril, pulling in the solar pingala breath. The breath manifests as warm, golden, frankincense scented air (again the practitioner should remain attentive to the form of the solar breath and the way it manifests in the imagination as this will provide insights into the subtle state of the body at that time of practice. Try to feel the solar force rather than construct the way it manifests according to a predetermined schema).
Once the ida and pingala nadis have been invigorated and cleansed a few breaths are taken with both nostrils open. In this breath the kundalini stirs, hums with vitality and the body is flooded with magical power. Stay in this state as long as desired and then adopt Shavasana and let go of the practice.