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Our Monastery & Healing Center

Nestled in the misty Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina just east of Asheville, Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery and Healing Center is the home base for a community of students and practitioners of tantra.  It grew out of the teachings of Swami Rama of the Himalayas, as received by Swami Ravi Rudra Bharati, (formerly Rudolph Ballentine, MD), and his experience of learning and teaching at the Body Electric School based in California. For over 20 years, those who have studied and trained with Swami Ravi have passed on this unique path to many others, and Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center serves as a place for all those who tread this path to return and reconnect with each other, the tradition, the earth,

and find rest and serenity.

Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery and Healing Center's focus is authentic classic tantra, emphasizing the inner marriage between each person’s inner Shiva (“masculine”) and Shakti (“feminine”). It is particularly dedicated to those of LGBTQ+ orientation, who have life experience with their “two spiritedness,” and are thus likely to be especially well suited to living and teaching this tradition.

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Our Healing Center
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Monastery Etiquette

Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery and Healing Center is a wilderness oasis where students, teachers and seekers come to integrate and recharge spiritually and sexually, by experiencing, learning and practicing tantra. 

We observe a number of "tapas," or containers, which support our focus on an integrative whole, based upon gratefulness and awareness. 

For more specific information of our Monastery observations and practices, see the FAQ Section below.

Monastery Etiquette
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Land Care

Dancing Shiva Tantra Monatsery and Healing Center is a part of Earthhaven Ecovillage, a 329-acre intentional community, founded on the principles of permaculture. We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture. Being caretakers of and visitors on the land includes interacting mindfully with all living beings that inhabit it, as well as relating to the grounds, soil, rocks and water sources with awareness.  We use the paths so as to disturb the ecosystem as little as possible.  Our mission and relationship to the land is one of being as un-intrusive as possible.

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Land Care
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Our Spaces & Buildings

Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery and Healing Center's buildings are both event places, healing spaces, and our home.

When crossing the thresholds of the Temple and the Yogastan, we always demonstrate our gratefulness for the space and those who created it, by pausing, bowing our head, and placing our hands either together in front of us, or one hand to the heart.

As with the land, we interact within the built spaces as un-intrusively as possible, including the physical, metaphysical and all energy aspects of the environment we are interacting within.

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Staying With Us

Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery and Healing Center’s mission is to bring a version of tantra to the West that is both accessible to the Westerner and relevant to the present — yet still true to the authentic tradition of tantra taught and lived in India for millennia.  It aims to do this by offering workshops, trainings, and other programs both at its home in the mountains and away. Even more importantly, however, is that Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center is a place where the teachings are lived, and where one can absorb their essence by simply being present.

It is a place for healing, transformation, and celebration.

 

Whilst we strive to welcome all visitors, the terrain at Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center is uneven and unpaved, and unfortunately we are not well-suited for wheelchair or other mobility device usage on the property.

Some physical limitations may be able to be accommodated, depending on individual circumstances.

 

Please contact us directly about your personal mobility challenges before you visit us or book an event, to check whether it may, or may not, be suited to you.

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Monstery Etiquette FAQ
  • Monastery Etiquette. How do I interact respectfully with the grounds, spaces, and other beings present at Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center?
    As a Monastery and Healing Center, we strive to observe a few simple practices when we interact with the grounds, the buildings and all living beings present. All these practices are rooted in acknowledging the countless beings that helped provide such an amazing space, and increasing our awareness of our surroundings. Morning Noble Silence: We begin each day listening to and receiving what is around us, without adding to it: just simply being present. We end this period at the breakfast table after giving thanks for the food we are about to eat. When greeting or passing others, we perform a simply bow to each other as we pass, with palms together or a hand to the heart, honoring our individual and collective journeys. Honoring the Spaces: When entering and leaving the Tantra Temple and Yogastan spaces, we show gratefulness to those who created the space, to the space itself, and to our higher selves for providing the opportunity to discover what we need to see. We do this by pausing at the threshold, and bowing our head with either our palms together, or a hand to our heart. The Yogastan, our central meditation and event space. Honoring the Surroundings: We are so fortunate to have this special place to connect, heal and share. Every being present has just as much right to be here and enjoy the space as you do! This includes ants, bees, hornets, mosquitoes, crickets, spiders, snakes and bears! Let them them enjoy their surroundings too by giving them the space they need. Relocate any being that may be negatively impacting you. If you need help, just ask one of the staff or facilitators. An aerial view of our location in the Appalachian hills of North Carolina. We resonate with the energies this special part of the Earth provides. The land is always receiving and always giving. Try to put yourself on receive as much as possible: Listen to the "silence" as much as you can; Interact gently with and respect the surroundings and beings we share Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center with, including the rocks, the water, the trees, insects, birds, snakes, animals and aquatic life. Get your hands dirty! Offer to help in the garden. There is always lots to do; Take a walk down to the creek and sit and meditation there for an hour. Just listen to "water flowing through rocks," discover this "ordinary magic"; Respect our neighbors and their privacy. We share this space with many others. Honoring the Teacher: It is customary to greet our Teacher, Swami Ravi Rudra Bharati, by stopping and performing a small head bow, with palms together or a hand to the heart. We do this to honor his dedication to his students, his wisdom and teachings, and the wisdom within each of us yet to be revealed, that, with his guidance, we may discover. Honoring the Journey and Healing of Others: This is a place to reflect and heal, always honoring the journey of ourselves and others. During Morning Noble Silence, we greet and acknowledge others with a simple bow, with palms together or a hand to the heart, honoring our individual and collective journeys. Sometimes, this journey can be painful as we heal from past and/or buried traumas. We generously give the space for this to occur, without interference or judgment. Some participants may be observing a silent retreat when they are here. Allow others to interact with you on their terms, not yours. Try to be open to and understanding of others' journeys to healing and self-actualization.
  • Getting here
    We are situated within the 329 acre eco-village, Earthaven, in the misty Appalachian hills of North Carolina, 35 miles east of Asheville, NC. Once you sign up, you'll be sent clear directions to follow to get to both Earthaven, and Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery within the village. If you can, arrive in daylight and enjoy the beautiful environment. Also, some of our roads are very windy, and some turns within the village can become easily confusing.
  • I have physical mobility challenges. Can you accommodate my needs?
    Whilst we strive to welcome all visitors, the terrain at Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center is uneven and unpaved, and unfortunately we are not well-suited for wheelchair or other mobility device usage on the property. Some physical limitations may be able to be accommodated, depending on individual circumstances. Please contact us directly about personal mobility challenges before you visit us or book an event to check whether it may, or may not, be suited to you.
  • How do I use a Composting Toilet?
    It's quite simple actually! Remove the cover Wipe the seat Sit Deposit Cover with one or two scoops of wood shavings, being careful NOT to get sawdust in the pee-funnel of the toilet seat (located center front as you sit). Replace the cover Wash your hands
  • How do I conserve power?
    All our power comes from Solar Panels and energy stored in a modest battery array. This is a finite resource. Here are some suggestions to help you preserve and conserve: If you can, use power during the day when the sun is shining as much as possible; Turn off all lights when not using the room; Ensure your electronic devices are only connected to power when you use them, or leave them in your car.
  • Is clothing optional?
    Many of our practices, rituals, events and workshops do involve shedding our garments, and presenting ourselves as we were born. We encourage you to participate in this "unburdening" to a level you are comfortable with. Be mindful that this is a Healing Space, and that others may be more or less comfortable with levels of sharing nakedness than you may be. There are also occasions where it is more appropriate to be clothed. Be aware of the surroundings and the energy. Being naked is also not an open invitation for intimacy or sexual contact. If in doubt, ask your event/workshop leader for guidance.
  • Can I bring drugs and alcohol with me?
    At Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center, we do not ingest intoxicating substances (including any drugs and alcohol). Visitors to the Monastery & Healing Center are expected to observe this tapas.
  • Why doesn't my cell phone work here?
    We do not have electrical or cellular network signal interference in the air and space above Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery & Healing Center's Property. Here's a couple of tips: If you need to use your cell phone, you will need to leave the Eco-village space and drive to the main road intersection (about a mile). Cell service is available there; Turn your Cell phone off or to "Airplane Mode" while on the property. Otherwise, your phone will drain its battery searching for a signal to connect to.
  • How do I conserve water?
    All our water comes from the sky (rain-water) and the earth (spring-fed). This is a finite resource. Here are some suggestions to help you preserve and conserve: Make sure all faucets are turned off when not in use; Take a three-minute shower rather than a ten-minute one; Wash-up in a bucket in the sink, rather than running water constantly; Turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth; In the warmer months, take a dip in the stream to get clean; it's both refreshing and your skin will love the natural water! Just remember to use eco-friendly soap products if you use them, and please be mindful of our neighbors as you walk down through the shared open space.
  • Why do I need to be a site member to see certain pages of the website?
    We freely offer a lot of information on the website. If you wish to explore further, including certain areas on the website, we ask for your email address and contact name as your "donation" for access to additional teachings and information. Becoming a site member has no fee, and it also gives you access to course chat groups, online learning and a lot more... You can use the the member portal in the top header section of each page to sign-up or sign-in.
  • How do I navigate the website?
    If you using a Desktop computer (which we recommend to fully experience the website), click on any word on the "Navigation Mandala" to go to that area of the website. You can also use the menu at the bottom of every page. You can return to the Navigation Mandala by clicking on either of the orange mandalas at the top of each page. If you are using a Mobile device, use the "hamburger" icon to access the website menu.
  • Can I have sex with anyone while I'm there?
    In all our social situations and (in particular tantric) settings, where sexual energy is encouraged and open to be consciously explored, intimacy with others is a fully mutual and fully consensual container of experience and learning.
  • I have body dysmorphia, and I'm not sure of how comfortable I am regarding nudity around others. How do I interact with others?
    We encourage all visitors to cloth themselves to their own comfort level, gender-neutral or -specific, fully clothed to fully naked. There are certain times when either being clothed or being naked are most appropriate. Just be yourself! If you are attending an event, it's best to check with the leader or facilitator for guidance.
  • I get aroused easily and quickly. What if I get an erection during a workshop/retreat?
    Celebrate that natural bodily function! Enjoy it and enjoy sharing it. Experience what it's like for others to enjoy your erection without there being any other "consequence." An erection is not an invitation for sexual intimacy or sex! It is your body's way of expressing arousal. Likewise, if someone else has an erection, this is also not an open invitation for intimacy. We respect each other and always either invite, or wait to be invited into, intimate connections, whether erections are involved or not.
  • What should I expect at a Retreat or Workshop?
    We encourage you to expect as little as possible! That way there is open space for spontaneity and discovery to arise. Expectations can turn into disappointment and standards, and aren't helpful in creating an expressive dynamic in which to explore yourself and your divine energies. If you need an expectation, then expect openness and sharing, and safe and supportive spaces and activities. If you have more questions, fill out our Contact Us Form.
  • I am gender -fluid -neutral -non-conforming. How do I navigate which workshops would be best suited to me?
    Reach out to the event facilitator to see whether the event is suited to you. You can always use our Contact Us form too, and we can help you get the answers /clarification you are seeking.
  • How do I prepare for a Workshop?
    Don't over-think it! Recognize that your mind may be racing around, imagining all sorts of exotic situations and interactions if you're attending a workshop or "Tantric" event for the first time. Once you are aware of your own projections and expectations, just let them run their course, and then try to stay open to receiving what is being given, rather than producing what you are generating. Apart from that, come with as open a mind as you can!
  • What do AFAB, AMAB, Folx (and other gender descriptive terms) mean?
    from the NIH Website page: LGBTI Safezone Terminology: https://www.edi.nih.gov/people/sep/lgbti/safezone/terminology AFAB: (pronounced ā-fab) Acronym meaning Assigned Female at Birth. AFAB people may or may not identify as female some or all of the time. AFAB is a useful term for educating about issues that may happen to these bodies without connecting to womanhood or femaleness. AMAB: (pronounced ā-mab) Acronym meaning Assigned Male at Birth. AMAB people may or may not identify as male some or all of the time . AMAB is a useful term for educating about issues that may happen to these bodies without connecting to manhood or maleness. Folx: An alternative spelling to folks. The two words are pronounced the same way. Folx is viewed by some as a more inclusive version of the word folks, though both are gender-neutral ways of addressing a group of people. Gender Binary: The disproven concept that there are only two genders, male and female, and that everyone must be one or the other. Also often misused to assert that gender is biologically determined. This concept also reinforces the idea that men and women are opposites and have different roles in society (see Gender Roles). Gender Dysphoria: The distress caused when a person's assigned sex at birth and assumed gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the term "...is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults." Gender Expansive: An umbrella term sometimes used to describe people who expand notions of gender expression and identity beyond perceived or expected societal gender norms. Some gender-expansive individuals identify as a mix of genders, some identify more binarily as a man or a woman, and some identify as no gender (see agender). Gender-expansive people might feel that they exist among genders, as on a spectrum, or beyond the notion of the man/woman binary paradigm. Sometimes gender-expansive people use gender-neutral pronouns (see Pronouns), but people can exist as any gender while using any pronouns. They may or may not be comfortable with their bodies as they are, regardless of how they express their gender. Gender Expression: The manner in which a person communicates about gender to others through external means such as clothing, appearance, or mannerisms. This communication may be conscious or subconscious and may or may not reflect their gender identity or sexual orientation. While most people’s understandings of gender expressions relate to masculinity and femininity, there are countless combinations that may incorporate both masculine and feminine expressions—or neither—through androgynous expressions. An individual’s gender expression does not automatically imply one’s gender identity. All people have gender expressions. Gender Identity: A person’s deeply held core sense of self in relation to gender (see Gender). Gender identity does not always correspond to biological sex. People become aware of their gender identity at many different stages of life, from as early as 18 months and into adulthood. According to Gender Spectrum, one study showed that “...the average age of self-realization for the child that they were transgender or non-binary was 7.9 years old, but the average age when they disclosed their understanding of their gender was 15.5 years old.” Gender identity is a separate concept from sexuality (see Sexual Orientation) and gender expression (see Gender Expression). Gender Neutral: Not gendered. Can refer to language (including pronouns and salutations/titles—see Gender-neutral salutations or titles), spaces (like bathrooms), or other aspects of society (like colors or occupations). Gender neutral is not a term to describe people (see Gender Expansive). A person who experiences no gender may be agender (see Agender) or neutrois (see Neutrois). Gender Nonconforming (GNC): A term for those who do not follow gender stereotypes. Often an umbrella for nonbinary genders (see TGNC). Though fairly uncommon, some people view the term as derogatory, so they may use other terms including gender expansive, differently gendered, gender creative, gender variant, genderqueer, nonbinary, agender, genderfluid, gender neutral, bigender, androgynous, or gender diverse. It is important to respect and use the terms people use for themselves, regardless of any prior associations or ideas about those terms.
  • What is Tantra?
    Tantra is an ancient body of practices and philosophy that chart a path of personal transformation and spiritual attainment. It is sex and body positive, honoring the physical along with the spiritual. Emerging from the mists of prehistoric South Asia, it has, over the millennia, woven together threads of the highest and most abstract of Vedic wisdom with the magic and earth-based intuitions of tribal shamans.
  • Do you have a Glossary of Tantric words and terms?
    Yes we do! Access to the glossary is only available to site members. You can easily become a site member using the link below. It's free, and gives you access to Swami Ravi's extensive video teaching library, meditation sessions, annotated suggested further list, group chats and more... Click on the link below to take you to our comprehensive glossary.
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