Exercitatio ad Unitatem
Hê eis Hen Askêsis
"Tantra LITE"

Detailed Instructions

(c) 1995, Apollonius Sophistes

The following are detailed instructions for the facilitator of the "Exercitatio ad Unitatem"; however, they should be considered suggestions, not a rigid framework. This information is made available in the hope that the Exercitatio will be more widely practiced, to the betterment of humanity; use it wisely.


  1. Goal
  2. Instruction
  3. Preliminaries
  4. Establish Sacred Space (Casting Circle)
  5. Pairing
  6. Opening Salutation
  7. Admiration
  8. Praise
  9. Touch
  10. Closing Salutation
  11. Opening Sacred Space
  12. Final Instruction
  13. General Notes


The goal is to experience unity through openness, trust, compassion, kindness, connection, respect, affection and love. (The exercise is not authentic Tantra, but it is inspired by Tantra and based on Tantric ideas.)

Instruction [5 min.]

Tell about Empedocles, Love and Strife:
  1. Empedocles: a Greek shaman (iatromantis) of 5th cent. BCE, one of founders of Greek philosophy (discovered the four elements).
  2. E. explained: two great living forces in universe: Love (Philotês, fih-LAW-tays) and Strife (Neikos, NAY-kos) = Aphrodite and Ares. Affinity and Separation might be better translations.
  3. Hesiod: Goddess Love and God Strife, offspring of Night (Nux), were ancient deities, predating Olympians.
  4. E.: original Golden Age was Reign of Aphrodite; all things were united and Love permeated the length and breadth of well-rounded cosmic sphere.
  5. But Strife, as River Styx surrounding the Sphere, broke its Unity; cleaved the One into Many; divided four elements, which ever since combine and separate under opposing actions of Love and Strife to produce the changing world with its manifold objects and qualities. Pythagoreans say that the World Soul breathed in the surrounding Unlimited oand thereby created Limit.
  6. Heraclitus: "Through Strife all things come into being."
  7. Into the world with Strife came dualism and tools of discrimination (for good or ill): oaths (sworn on the Styx), bargains, justice, weights and measures, science.
  8. Empedocles: Strife also divided the one immortal soul of Love into many individual souls, each comprising both Love and Strife in some proportion; these immortal souls are reborn time and again into mortal bodies, which are animated by mortal souls compounded from the four elements.
  9. From the apex of Reign of Aphrodite we have come to nadir of the Reign of Ares, from solidarity of the tribe to strife of group against group and individual against individual.
  10. Neikos is attraction of like for like; separates four elements and divides people from those unlike them; Ares works through jingoism, racism, bigotry, intolerance and selfishness.
  11. Aphrodite called Pandemos - Goddess of All People; like Philotês, She draws together everything, both like and unlike, into One.
  12. To return to Reign of Aphrodite: invite Philotês into our lives, for Aphrodite does not demand we be passionate, sexual lovers of everyone else; it is sufficient to be be united by Philotês = Affection and Friendship as well as by Love.
  13. She comes when Strife is banished. Neikos is the absence of Philotês.
  14. Whenever we dissolve divisions between us, we take a step back to the "well-rounded sphere permeated by Philotês," which was the cosmos of the Golden Age. (Unless there is something specific dividing us, there is no reason why we cannot be united.)

Preliminaries [11 min.]

  1. Explain the Practice in brief:
    1. Create sacred space, banishing Strife and invoking Love
    2. Participants are paired up randomly, and a simple counting device ensures that eventually each participant is paired with each other participant.
    3. Since sexual intimacy is not a specific goal, but dissolving the inhibitions that separate us is, no distinction is made between different-sex and same-sex pairings.
    4. However, no matter what our sexual orientation, all human contact is charged with sex - whether as potential lovers or potential rivals.
    5. Each pair works through three activities, Admiration, Praise and Touch, which may overlap or blend into each other.
    6. Central to all three is experiencing the embodied divinity in the other - "Thou art God. Thou art Goddess."
  2. Explain in detail (see below).
  3. Openness is facilitated if participants wear little or no clothing, but that's not necessary.
  4. Allow those uninterested to leave (leaving later will disrupt the ritual).

Establish Sacred Space (Casting Circle) [4 min.]


  1. Have a small table or cloth in center for Keraunos, Keraunia Kôdôn and counting charts/devices.
  2. "Many of you are familiar with these Tantric instruments, but they were also used in ancient Greece, where this [the vajra sceptre] was called the Keraunos or Thunderbolt; Zeus often holds one (as does the Hindu God Indra, who corresponds to Zeus), which He uses to dispel malevolent forces."
  3. "This [the ghantha or vajra bell] is the Keraunia Kôdôn, or Lightning-bell. It corresponds to the lotus (Gk. lôtos, Rom. lotos or lotus), which was sacred to Aphrodite (an attribute She inherited from Isis)."
  4. (In Tantra, the vajra sceptre represents skillful means & compassion, and the vajra bell represents the wisdom necessary to unite the means and compassion. They are the yang and yin, or active and passive elements, by which enlightenment is attained.)

Banishing Neikos

  1. Use Keraunos (dorje/vajra sceptre) or sign of fig.
  2. Do Olympic LBRP or a shorter banishing:
    Neikos, Brother of Philotês, Thou who rulest with Her,
    Thou creator of the Elements and shaper of the Cosmos,
    We request Thee to depart from here; commit us to Thy Sister,
    Taking with Thee all divisive forces. Neikos, yield Thou to Philotês!

    Begone, Strife, Begone!
    Procul, O Procul (es) Neikos! [can do in each quarter]

Inviting Philotês

  1. With hands open in celestial invocation, recite Invocation (based on "Empedocles' Hymn"):
    Philotês, Thou whose arms surround the world,
    embracing all together, joined as one,
    we contemplate Thee, who cannot be seen,
    and feel Thee dwelling in our mortal limbs.
    We call Thee Friend, for Harmony's Thy gift,
    and Joy Thou'rt named, and Aphrodite too.
    When people gather, You arrive unseen;
    in lofty clouds You circle like a dove,
    and draw us close in bonds of common Love.
    Hail, fair Goddess! Khaire!
  2. Use Keraunia Kôdôn (ghantha or vajra bell) or hands cupped together (sign of yoni).
  3. "Although we may have never met before, during this brief time we will try to share the perfect trust and perfect love of an ideal coven."
  4. Participants may disrobe.
  5. Now an invocation from a poem at least 1500 years old, The All-night Vigil of Venus: "As an ancient poem says,"
    Cras amet qui numquam amavit, quique amavit cras amet!
    [CRAS aMET qui NUMqu^aMAwit // QUIqu^aMAwit CRAS aMET]
    Let those love now who've never loved,
    Let those who've loved, love yet again.
    (Pervigilium Veneris, after tr. Coventry Patmore)


(1) Even number of participants (counting facilitator): use the Pairing Device (0 = facilitator). Use the N wheel for N besides facilitator. (The wheels are named for their circumferences: 3, 5, 7,...)

(2) Odd number of participants: (a) The leader may either sit out, so that an even number are active; in this case another participant is given number 0. Use the N-1 wheel for N besides F. (b) Another individual may sit out on each round; the most systematic way is to leave out the person whose number corresponds to the round (#1 on the first round, #2 on the second, etc.; in this case 0 is paired with the one who sits out). Use the N wheel for N including F.

(3) If there are too many people for everyone to be paired (e.g. more than 6-10 for an hour session), then the following randomization process may be used. Everyone is given a token marked with a number and each person remembers their number. For each round, all the tokens are put in a pot; they are drawn out two at a time to determine the pairs. If two people are chosen who have already been paired, then a new partners are drawn for each until unique pairs are formed (any unused token are then returned to the pot).

The pairings of the first round will probably make a bigger impression than those of later rounds.

Opening Salutation [2 min.]

  1. The partners sit (e.g. cross-legged) facing each other, close but not touching. (Each to other's right also works.)
  2. Make sure everyone is comfortable.
  3. Close eyes.
  4. Picture a magical setting, such as a temple or a sacred grove.
  5. Ring the Keraunia Kôdôn.
  6. At the sound, imagine your partner is a divinity descending from the heavens in a golden cloud, or materializing from a spring, a tree or the earth. Thus you have no doubt of their divinity, but you should also have no doubt of your own divinity, and so you should strive to visualize the divinity within yourself.
  7. Open your eyes when the sound seems to have died away. (This will tend to impart a numinous glow to your partner and the surroundings.)
  8. When both partners have opened their eyes, each partner salutes the other in a simple way, such as a nod, smile, praying gesture, etc.
  9. A Greek gesture would be to open the palm upward to one's partner, as though to a Divinity.
  10. When you see your partner's eyes open and look at you, feel the bliss of being noticed by a deity, and a smile of joy come to your lips, for as long as comfortable. Absorb the beneficient gaze of your partner (don't worry about projecting your own).


  1. Each partner admires the other as embodied divinity and each accepts the admiration of the other as that befitting a divinity.
  2. This is a kind of meditation, in which the goal is for your awareness to zoom in and focus on the partner in the here-and-now; your partner should fill your consciousness, so that it begins to merge with the divine other. Allow your heart to open to your partner and feel the boundaries begin to dissolve.
  3. Knowing that you are in the presence of divinity, perhaps for this one time only, you desire to drink in and immerse yourself in every detail of the experience.
  4. Completely experience both yourself and the other in the present moment, as though you and your partner are all that exists in the world.
  5. Every characteristic of the other should be as a manifestation of this divinity, and therefore worthy of praise.
  6. Look into each other's eyes - don't strain them though, and make sure to observe all the particulars of your partner.
  7. Maintain deep, slow breathing; let it synchronize with your partner's if that seems natural.
  8. Become aware of the energy flowing through your partner's chakras, and see the interpenetration of both of your auras.
  9. Be prepared to see your partner's many faces, for he or she is a shape-shifting spirit.
  10. In this phase the partners connect primarily through their eyes and the sense of sight, secondarily through the sense of smell.


  1. Each partner compliments the other. Each says why they find the other attractive, perhaps by starting with "I am attracted by your ..."
  2. The hearer strives to accept the praise as the adoration that a devotee owes a divinity.
  3. This is not a time for lies or empty compliments, but for honest admiration of the other, for whatever their appearance may be, they are embodied divinity and therefore praise-worthy; giver and receiver should each accept it in this way.
  4. The goal is to see the other as attractive and come to understand the many ways that you may be attractive.
  5. You may quietly sing (i.e. hymn) your praise of your partner.
  6. Take turns to some extent, but go with the flow.
  7. The partners connect through the sense of hearing.


  1. Each partner treats the other as a divinity to whom they owe the pleasure of touch, and by whom they expect to be blessed by touch.
  2. The attitude of each to the other is as a devotee to a God/dess; each strives to honor and expects to be honored.
  3. Think of a healing or blessing touch, or a gesture of empowerment.
  4. It may be helpful to close your eyes.
  5. You may want to shift your positions, moving closer or to each other's right sides.
  6. The deity may invite touch, or the devotee may request contact with the deity. It is a blessing to touch divinity.
  7. Some quiet words are OK (especially to request or grant permission for various forms of touch), but try to keep conversation to a minimum.
  8. Touch your partner like a delicate flower; progress slowly.
  9. They may touch each other in whatever ways are acceptable to them both; caressing, hugging, kissing and licking are typical.
  10. Sexual contact is fine, if mutually agreeable, but the limited time during which partners are paired (5-10 min.) will preclude serious sex.
  11. Partners may feed each other, e.g., grapes, lychees, small chunks of fresh pineapple, chocolate mints. Have toothpicks handy for feeding.
  12. In this activity the partners connect through the senses of touch and taste.

Closing Salutation

  1. Finish by hugging, holding each other and breathing together for a few moments.
  2. Say, "Thou art God/ess" or something similar.
  3. Everyone gets up and stretches before being re-paired.
  4. This is a good time to exchange a few words with your partner about the experience.

Opening Sacred Space [1 min.]

Final Purification

  1. The facilitator may stand; others may stand with him.
  2. The Keraunia Kôdôn is struck, and allowed to die out.

Thanks to Goddess

  1. With hands in celestial invocation, he says,
    By Thee, Philotês, we were drawn together;
    For Thee we saw, we spoke, we touched each other.
    Blessed be."
  2. Other versions:
    By Thee, Philotês, we were drawn together;
    For Thee we saw, we spoke, we mingled limbs.


  1. Two quick claps, and some declaration such as "The rite is done!" or "the circle is open!"
  2. This could be followed by a group "amoeba hug."

Final Instruction [1 min.]

General Notes

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Last updated: Wed Sep 23 23:20:39 EDT 1998