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The Phoenix Temple, Tantra, and Sacred Sexuality

By Donald Michael Kraig

[Snip] In fact, the introduction of the high level of Indian thought and theology is relatively new to the West. With the typical sense of Christian superiority at the time, most people thought that Hinduism was just the stupid beliefs of savages until 1893 and the Parliament of World Religions held in Chicago. There, Swami Vivekananda electified the audience as he described the advanced theological and spiritual concepts found in Indian faiths. He went on to travel in the U.S. and give lectures, gaining many followers.

Tantra was introduced to the U.S. in 1905 by a man named Pierre Bernard, founder of the Tanrik Order in America. Calling himself Oom the Omnipotent, he taught Sanskrit and hatha yoga. He ended up with wealth, land, many famous followers and a virtual chain of Tantric clinics from Chicago to New York.

And soon, Tantra became associated with sexuality. A woman who had been a follower of the Order, using the pseudonym Marion Dockerill, superficially exposed some of the sexual aspects of Bernard’s group in the salacious book, My Life in a Love Cult, published in 1928. A decade earlier, while still a supporter, Dockerill (whose real name was Alma Hirsig), introduced her sister, Leah, to Aleister Crowley. Leah became one of Crowley’s most (in)famous assistants in sexual magick. The book “exposes” some of Crowley’s rituals and rites, too.

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