A depiction of male and female in sexual union, manifesting in the forms of Vajrayogini and Heruka, is anything but scary.
Maithuna is a Sanskrit term for sexual union, a yoga of marriage.
To preserve the purity and sanctity of these practices, Maithuna was kept secret for thousands of years. Sexual practice has long been known to bring transcendental bliss, whether in the Black Tantra of orgasm or White Tantra of withholding at the moment of orgasm to internalize and ascend the feeling.
Sadly, abuse of knowledge happens, globally and historically the misuse of sex occurs, resulting in the abuse of many students by their 'gurus' and fatally transmitted diseases as well as the black magic associated with these sacred rituals.
In more recent years, the knowledge has become more public and with the spread of Eastern esoteric wisdoms into the West, the practices of Tantric sex seemed to become misunderstood.
They say - In these degenerate times, the practice of sacred sex has become an 'excuse' for much sexual misconduct. Even with the best intentions, the new-agers - however they like to paint it, according to ancient texts, have misconstrue the teachings in favor of multiple sexual partners when it is in reality, they say, it is within the sanctity of a monogamous equal union when the profound ascension can occur.
This is a truly transformational yoga which can only occur with time, trust, truth, work, respect, perseverance, total egoic surrender. Egoic death whilst still in the body. No romance here. Not reliant upon another to do the work for us, but a mutual coming together.
In Chod, there is the offering of our earthly bodies, a symbolic death, a separation from the mundane mindbody and ultimate wisdom. Vajrayogini, being the highest primordial Buddha in female creation form, carries a kartika. She cuts away the ignorance. Now I love pigs and they are highly intelligent creatures, but in Tibetan Buddhism they represent ignorance. It is the 'intelligent ignorance' of mankind, lost in a left-brained ego based reality. So in this painting, the male has two heads. The outer pig 'mask' then the human that was hidden inside, none the less, the human form still needed to be stripped away as well to allow the ultimate bliss to fill him.
Heruka, the 'blood drinker', the embodiment of indivisible bliss and emptiness, the wrathful male deity who loves all sentient beings with such ferocity that he facilitates in Her flaying of his earthly male counterpart's ego and is a conduit for the 'bloody' Great Bliss that Vajrayogini gifts him.
In Tibet, the traditional greeting is with that of the tongue extended. This stems from a time of Bon when the Dzungar people invaded Tibet and feared the Bonpos and Nyingmas' magical recitations. A belief that reciting these mantras would turn their tongues brown or black, the Dzungar officials would insist upon seeing the tongues of Tibetans, the result - death for many natives. It morphed into a volunteer 'practice' that to this day now says 'I have nothing to hide'
Aside from the obvious sexual implications of the tongues pressed against each other, they are also 'saying' I have no secrets from you. I have nothing to hide.
These two personified cosmic forces are adorned with their typical jeweled skull crowns of the wisdom Buddhas and surrounded by bliss flames of supreme awareness. Their third eye - seeing beyond the veils of mundane perception - are fully opened. Their three eyes each, understanding the true nature of past present and future.
At the bottom of the painting, at the point of penetration, is a hexagram, the two triangles locked in sacred embrace, the Shakti and Shiva in Hinduism. The phenomenal source double tetrahedron of Vajrayogini, the Anahata heart chakra.
Only with heart may one enter.
In all cultures it would seem, dating far back into history, the Elixir of Life appears to be in the mixing of red and white, the mixing and uniting of opposites.
The moon is considered masculine in many cultures a full moon's 'milky white energy' resembling semen, was even thought to be able to impregnate women. To wit- in stories of vampires and werewolves..the seductive blood drinkers and men effected by the full moon are immortal 'enemies' yet inextricably bound until love creates the 'hybrid' who unifies the two and brings about a super species.
In ophiolatry (serpent worship-one of the oldest most prevalent sacred practices in the world that is found, morphed in root texts of nearly all the world's religions and spiritual practices) the snake is the bringer of life and death. It holds it's own antidote to it's deathly bite as well as it's skin sloughing symbolism of rebirthing. The venom helps T-cell replication as well as psychoactive properties, leaving the consumer's health boosted and transcending to higher states of reality. Traditionally, this mixing of blood and venom was done in a skull cup, the root, both physically and esoterically of the Holy Grail.
The Anahata is associated with the thymus gland where T-cells are produced. At her heart here,
Vajrayogini traditionally wears a mirror, reflecting truth.