The Royal Path of Shakti: The Erotic and Magical Techniques of Kaula Tantra, by Daniel Odier
Inner Traditions, 9781644117163, 187 pages, July 2023

Daniel Odier has detailed and explained each technique of the Kaula Tantra in his book The Royal Path of Shakti: The Erotic and Magical Techniques of Kaula Tantra.

Odier was born in Geneva and studied fine arts in both Rome and Paris. After working as a music critic for a newspaper, he traveled to India and studied with Kalu Rinpoche for seven years. Almost ten years later, he met the yogini Lalita Devi and received a transmission of Mahamudra and other mystical teachings in the Kaula Tantra Tradition. He presents the teachings in this book with the full permission of Lalita Devi. Odier has shared these teachings all over the world, as well as publishing poetry, critical works, and numerous books on tantra and Eastern mysticism. When not traveling, he resides in Switzerland.

“The problem with seeking enlightenment is that you always come to the point where you think you have it.”1

In his preface, Odier gives a thorough history of tantra and the great masters. With this background as his base teaching, he shares 43 Practices then followed by 24 Patala of the Kaulajnananirnaya Tantra. In addition to a Table of Contents that spells out each practice and patala, each page is earmarked with either the name of the practice or the number of the patala. This makes it very easy to navigate the teachings. He also adds this note about the teachings from his yogini Lalita Devi:

“Each time that I asked her where something was in the Kaula Tantra, she would smile and reply “I am placing it in your heart and that will be your library. Knowledge is not practice and the Matsyendranath took care to conceal the practice so that only he who received the direct transmission could penetrate the mysteries of the twilight language.”2

In reading about the practices, I learned that the chakra system was a little different from the chakras I had been taught in my yoga practice and Reiki training. This system utilized eight chakras, including one on the forehead AND one between the eyebrows. The other difference was the addition of a chakra of the mouth and palate. Throughout the information on the practices, Odier weaves stories of his own initiation into this magical system for life.

One of my favorite practices is “Practice 23: Dietary Practices”. In this chapter, I learned about the interconnectedness of everything and how everything is alive. He speaks of the importance of asking your body what it wants to eat. I also enjoyed “Practice 40: The Yoga of Looking with Your Skin”. I recorded the meditation in that chapter and enjoyed this exploration with the ruby goddess.

After reviewing the practices, I was interested to know what “patala” meant. It translates as “feet,” and refers to the lower regions of the universe: underworld or netherworld. These transmissions bestow sacred knowledge to the student and each one builds on the patala that comes before it. As I was reading the warehouse of knowledge in the second part of the book, I was reminded of A Course in Miracles and how the text starts with simple ideas and builds the knowledge base of the student.

My favorite patala is Patala 7, which relates to “old age and decline.”3 Through a series of meditations over a period of six months, one can transcend age and dying:

“By uniting with Kamakala, one can put an end to old age. Thus, we have explained to you the secret and the characteristics of the being who has changed inwardly.”4

At the end of the book, Odier shares a brilliant conclusion, a glossary of spiritual and mystical terms and a complete index. Each of these helps the reader process the information that he relates. This last sentence summarizes the teachings of Odier. The life of the yogi truly relates to changing oneself from the inside out. In his conclusion, he says this about the Kaula Tantra tradition:

“The yoginis saw the master-disciple relationship as an intense heart-to-heart experience-no wasting of time, no prerequisite purification, no milestones to get beyond. . . This is what this text reveals to us, imbued with the magic of a time freed of all religious conformism.”5

Odier’s writing style is very conversational and easy to read. The patala section is written as a letter or a journal entry that chronicles questions from the student and the teacher’s reply. I really enjoyed this style of writing and found it to be very personal and authentic.

The Royal Path of Shakti would be good for any yoga student, yoga teacher, or anyone who wants to strengthen his relationship with spirit or adopt a spiritual practice. I can see myself starting the new year or a new month by rereading the book, in a “practice a day” systematic approach.


  2. page xix
  3. page 121
  4. page 123
  5. page 173