Within the Tantric and Neo-Tantric scene one will regularly encounter the practice of Yoni Worshiping or Yoni Honoring. A note here: depending on the choice between American or Britain English, you will also find the name for the practice written as Yoni Worshipping and Yoni Honouring respectively.
Perhaps Yoni Worshiping may bring about mental notes and connotations of “worshiping the vagina,” but in fact, Yoni Worshiping has only partly to do with that. The Yoni here is seen as the creative female principle in all life forms, which in Hindu Tantric traditions is considered the material cause of the universe, that is, the mother-source of all that exists.
In Hinduism, and notably in Tantric traditions, this primordial creative cosmic energy is worshiped as the Goddess Shakti (also written Sakti), which is a personification of the dynamic feminine aspect of the Supreme Being, the uncaused causer of the Universe. In India, Shakti knows many Goddess incarnations, such as Mahadevi, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati.
Shakti is also seen as the sustainer and destroyer of the universe. In fact, to really create, one needs to destroy first. Shakti is the Goddess who creates, maintains, and destroys the material world, but also so-called Maya, that is, the Illusion and Ignorance about the actual reality of the World and our Authentic Spiritual Self.
The non-personified, symbolic (aniconic) representation of Shakti is the Yoni, which is usually depicted in the form of a horizontally positioned square, ellipse or round base, with an edge and an opening in the center. Often you will also see a cylindrical or oval shaped Lingam (the masculine counterpart of the Yoni, the phallus) positioned in the Yoni “container,” which stands up straight from out its center.
The individual personified representation of the Yoni is the actual living woman with her creative reproductive power, that is, women are considered the living expressions of the Shakti Goddess. Neo-Tantric ideas of Sacred Femininity and Sacred Sexuality are strongly based on this notion, that is, fully awakening and connecting to the dynamic Shakti Energy. The idea behind this is that by doing so, women can liberate themselves from factual or perceived emotional, sexual or spiritual bondages, inhibitions, and blockages.
The practice of Yoni Worshiping is to carry out devotional activities (also called Bhakti Yoga) that embrace and awaken female Shakti energy, strength and power. This can be done by, for instance, using Yogic Asanas, Pujas, Mantras, Chants, Meditation, Sexual Intercourse, Dance, Bandhas and Mudras. Examples of some well-known practices are Yoni Yoga, Womb Meditation, Breathwork, Tantric Sex, and the Yoni Mudra.
On a more hands-on “vaginal level” it can also mean the act or process of sexual un-shaming or learning to respect the Yoni i.e. vagina, vulva and/or uterus by giving it/those proper care and love. This more down-to-earth Yoni Worshiping practice may be very necessary for women who have been taught that their vagina, or in a broader sense their genital and sexual organs, are “dirty and unholy,” things that rather need to be hidden or obscured.
In any case, with Yoni Honoring or Yoni Worshiping there’s an explicit goal of reconnecting with one’s true sacred womanhood to attain spiritual and creative liberation and realization, which in embodied Tantric practices may also be done in conjunction with emotional and physical sexual dearmoring practices.