The Tantric Egg: A BwO

In How Do You Make Yourself a Body without Organs”, Deleuze and Guattari say that, “The BwO is desire; it is that which one desires and by which one desires” (165). It is a “plane of consistency” or the “field of immanence of desire.” In a highly sexualized and hilarious exploration of desire, from S&M through courtly love and tantric sex, D&G break down what it means to be a “connection of desires, conjunction of flows, continuum of intensities” (161).


When the masochist asks the mistress to “sew the breasts,” “sew my buttocks together” or “stick the pins all the way,” it is not about the “phantasy,” but the “program” (151). Stressing that it is about experimentation and not interpretation, D&G accuse psychoanalysis for “royally botching the real” by understanding desire as a negative law of the lack. When a masochist desires to be put in a bridle and treated like a horse, it is a matter of “becoming animal” that is essential to masochism. Instead of having to do with “your goddamn mother,” the masochist is using suffering as “a way of constituting a body without organs [to] bring forth a plane of consistency of desire … Pleasure is in no way something that can be attained only by a detour through suffering; it is something that must be delayed as long as possible because it interrupts the continuous process of positive desire” (155).

In the example of courtly love, D&G show how desire constitutes a BwO by creating its own field of immanence that has nothing to do with the self, instead it is an “absolute Outside that knows no Selves because interior and exterior are equally a part of the immanence in which they have fused” (156). D&G describe a Japanese compilation of Chineses Taoist treatises as, “the formation of a circuit of intensities between female and male energy, with the woman playing the role of the innate or instinctive force (Yin) stolen by or transmitted to the man in such a way that the transmitted force of the man (Yang) in turn becomes innate, all the more innate: an augmentation of powers” (155). The BwO does not experience desire as an internal lack, instead desire is the driving principle that creates a plane of consistency capable of generating pure multiplicities, circuits of “augmented power.”

The BwO is in a state of endless becoming: “You never reach the Body without Organs, you can’t reach it, you are forever attaining it, it is a limit” (150). D&G write that, “The egg is the BwO. The BwO is not ‘before’ the organism; it is adjacent to it and is continually in the process of constructing itself” (164). Destabilize, deterritorialize, desire a body “defined by axes and vectors, gradients and thresholds, by dynamic tendencies involving energy transformation and kinematic movements involving group displacement, by migrations: all independent of accessory forms because the organs appear and function here only as pure intensities.” D&G lovingly call the BwO, “The tantric egg” (153).

Flower offerings to a Shiva Lingam during Maha Shivaratri celebrations at the Keesara Gutta Temple, Hyderabad

An interesting result of a google search for psychedelic egg images revealed the Shiva Lingam Stone, a real tantric egg. Naturally tumbled and shaped by the Namada River in the mountains of Mandhata in India, this egg-shaped stone has the highest frequency and natural vibration of all the stones on Earth. Formed by thousands of tiny crystals known as cryptocrystalline, which means secret or mysterious crystalline structure, the Shiva Lingam stone is an object of “ultimate power, the power of transmutation that lies dormant within each of us” and is a sacred symbol of divine creation.

~ christine zenyi lu


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