My friend Nigel did an intensive year-long couples course in Tantra and has written this enlightening, thoughtful piece on his experiences. He is currently exploring Conscious BDSM with Sacred Pleasures:
I used to own a series of role-playing video games for my computer called King’s Quest. In one of them you controlled a character called Cedric, who had the task of saving the ailing kingdom of Daventry by finding a magic mirror in which one could foresee the future, a magic chest that was always filled with gold coins and a magic shield that would protect the bearer from all harm.
Cedric travelled around exploring the kingdom, meeting mysterious people and creatures who would give him the information, and finding and acquiring the objects he would require in order to fulfil his task. Quite near Cedric’s starting point, for example, was a piece of ploughed earth which, on further investigation, turned out to be a carrot patch. It was obvious that Cedric was supposed to pick a carrot but less obvious was what he was supposed to do with it. Eating it didn’t seem to achieve anything. But how about eating it in the dark? Would that enable him to see in the dark? You would put the carrot in Cedric’s bag and carry on exploring, waiting for the moment when the carrot might come in useful.
As I eventually discovered, Cedric was supposed to show – but not feed – the carrot to a goat that he would meet elsewhere in Daventry. This would cause the goat to follow Cedric around and, later in the game, Cedric’s goat companion would be critical in his progress when it would help him to cross a bridge that was guarded by a troll. As in the story of Billy Goat Gruff, the goat charged the troll and knocked it into the water. This wouldn’t happen, of course, until after you’d made several frustrated attempts to get across the bridge to the mysterious island that, it was obvious, contained some element essential to your progress. All of these attempts would end with you being unceremoniously thrown into the water by the troll.
Finding and collecting the items and information that you’d need, and piecing together the clues that enabled you to solve the puzzle, would take hours of game play over the course of weeks, and sometimes months. Periods of frustration, where you seemed to have exhausted all your exploration possibilities and couldn’t figure out what you were supposed to do with the items in your bag and the information you’d acquired, would be followed by the joy and excitement of making a breakthrough.
Sometimes a breakthrough would open out whole new areas of the game to explore, such as when you overcame the troll and crossed the bridge to the previously inaccessible island. Sometimes, the seemingly unrelated items in your bag would all suddenly turn out to be connected. For example, you might have been re-exploring a room in a castle for the umpteenth time when you discovered a catch that caused a secret panel to slide open and reveal a hidden door. The mysterious gold key that had been given to you earlier by an elf would turn out to open that door, and matches that you’d bought from the shopkeeper. The candle that you’d picked up in a deserted house would enable you to illuminate and explore the darkened passage beyond. The purpose of the hunk of ham that the farmer’s wife had given you would then be revealed – you’d use it to distract the lion that was guarding the door at the end of the passage – a door that could be opened by the silver key you’d found under Dracula’s pillow. In the room beyond lay a beautiful sleeping princess. Oh yes, you’d plucked a red rose from the flower bed outside the house…
Photo credit: Johan Swainpoel @ Veer