Biographical

A BRIEF LOOK-BACK AT 2016: SATURN RETURN YEAR, THUS FAR

 

 

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It´s been quite an interesting day so far. And apparently, an interesting year in review. This is one of those – just need to let it out for a moment – biographical pieces.

Spent some time catching up with a friend over lunch earlier today. It amazes me how some of the most solid friendships in my life are with atheists and agnostics with an open-mind  – people who know me from other spheres of my life and have a deep sense of trust and familiarity. These are the friendships have lasted me for years and stood the test of time. And without surprise, the ones that need the least management.

I was planning to sleep afterwards as I had a Soul Portrait Masterclass in the morning (and that takes its own recovery time) – but there´s some major pre-Deepavali cleaning going on at home.

So I ended up making some coffee for and spending some time with my grandmother showing her pictures from my various travels and works done over the past year. And taking it all in for myself in review – yai chihuahua.

A lot got done, and a lot more will come to to pass, especially in November & December as I head for the 2nd Dark Goddess Workshop (Nov 12, Uki, Australia) –  and – the Goddess Conference (Nov 18-20, Sydney)), and a research / pilgrimage trip to the Navagraha Temples, the Himalayan foothils, etc.

They don´t call it a Saturn Return for nothing …

It´s not quite time to admire the view yet, but more of a nod to self as I keep going forwards….

***

The year started off quite … intensely as I found myself in a situation that could have become a tragedy. My brother and I had just been been paragliding, and I got covered in cuts and thought it a good idea to swim back to where my parents were. I prefer water and am a decent swimmer.

Before we knew it, dusk fell upon us – we´d been out longer than we realized and what was supposed to be a leisurely swim turned out to be something far more intense. Turns out we headed for some shallow waters (but not shallow enough to walk through at night, you can´t see where your foot´s going) and a small cliff! … Nothing was signposted in advance.

I swam through the waters carefully, my brother keeping pace alongside me, climbing over the rocks. It was safer to be afloat and I had to keep a pin-point focus at all times. My feet and belly touching over sharp stony edges and feeling through weeds and other detritus, unable to see anything in the dark waters. With waves coming in.

And I just kept telling myself : Stay Focused.

That was what got me through.

Haven´t quite shared that as it was on mum´s birthday, at the start of the year. Took us a few hours to get to safety. We told our parents that we got lost somewhere and downplayed the whole thing. Dad would have freaked …

And then of course, a month later, my trip to Europe, getting my passport pickpocketed on my first proper day in Barcelona – seeing the Black Madonna in Monserrat. Various trips and pilgrimages to the UK. Doing the Dark Goddess Workshop in Glastonbury. Energy working in Scotland, Cornwall, Cambodia. Interacting with Goddess energy and mythology in India. Sitting beneath the boughs of Buddha´s bodhi tree in Bodhgaya. Jumping in the Ganges (and freaking out a friend) in Dhakineshwar, Calcutta. Passing through Cuddalore, the land where many saints and Ascended Beings have walked. And many things of that ilk.

Oh and let´s not forget the surgery over my chest, getting my own e-stalker (and as an update, providing a facilitation for her that … seems to have addressed the issue). Friendships made and broken. Heartache. Heart-healing. Revisiting the past for release.

So much has happened. It sounds glamorous and action-packed (to some) from the outside, but … my gods it took courage, determination, and … single-minded focus. Some of those situations were … literally life-threatening and … being anything but brave would have led to a very different outcome.

And of course, hours and hours of intense session time to finance all this work (I gotta go where I´m called) and keep up with large sums of cash for monthly university debt payments. And pro bono work for many on the side. And articles. And … And … And…

Mother of Gods …

Let´s just say it has been one of the most rewarding, challenging and productive times of my life thus far. And massively transformative at the energetic level.

Just time to take a deep breath.

To recognize the celestial support I have had and the personal support I have had (especially through my brother) – but more than that the sheer amount of will, grit and effort that only I – as an individual – acting on my own Free Will could choose to bring to the challenge.

Without that, no amount of support is of use.

You have to choose to do it. And so I did.

The sheer of weight of transits and activations to my chart this year is staggering.

And I´m very proud of myself, which is something my Capricorn Sun needs to acknowledge a little more. Which is why I picked the image that I did. It came as a beautiful, unexpected gift by a young artist I spent a little time with. Contact info at the bottom of the post

To me, this is Spirit´s way of saying – BAIRAVEE.

THIS is what YOU are DOING.

OWN IT.

Thank you as well, dear community – for reminding me that it´s ok to do so 🙂

And for the space to do in a public way. It´s that Vesta in Aries on my Midheaven ….

***

Whhoooshh…

*big exhale*

3. 2. 1.

Back to work … Here we go!

  

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD
The Sky Priestess

Info on Sessions Offered / Pilgrimage Fundraising: http://wp.me/p4OUNS-1ww

Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2016. All rights reserved.
Image by Amber Barth at Heartwork Portraits by Amber Barth, 2016.

Terms of Use and Sharing: Feel free to use the Share button on FB or Reblog on WordPress for personal, noncommercial or educational use with all links intact. If you are an organization, institution or individual seeking to use this material for promotional purposes, please ask first. If wanting to include this information, and/or the ideas explored therein into your workshop materials, teachings or written work, please cite this article and author accordingly. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel.

Felt I needed to share it. So I did.

When I was a child, I wanted to be a physicist, an astronaut, or a neurosurgeon. Or some strange combination of all of the above. I excelled at calculus, mathematics, music, languages and so on.

I disliked the politics of the land I was born in and became a social worker, trainer and public figure. Within a short span of time, I ended up working with over 2,500 children of my own ethnicity. I focused on teaching them about the neuroscience of the brain and how it could infinitely re-wire itself – and tools that can be used to facilitate the learning process. In ways that kids would understand and enjoy.

And for political reasons, I had to leave – and started my journey into higher education.

I started out in Physics, but quickly found that I liked literature, politics, performance and poetry. A gifted Nigerian professor got me started on African History, then American History – and introduced me to the Model United Nations.

And fate intervened.

I switched major and countries and became a political scientist by training. Living in the US, Germany and the UK – and travelling to many other countries for research work and attending conferences. Eventually, through much personal struggle and illness, I completed a PhD in Political Science. My thesis was called ´The dramaturgy of ritual performances in the Indian Parliament´.

And then after that a major download came, and I became an astrologer and a priestess and God/dess knows what else. And somehow elements of all of the above come spinning together in what is a tapestry I myself do not fully understand.

But what I do understand through all of this is that my work – as a priestess – never asks me to look past the human structures this species uses to govern itself – it asks me to engage with them powerfully. Into the muck, as it were.

To get lower, to sink deeper to the heart of things, and never to escape from them. But to embrace them. And in so doing, to transform them.

It´s meant popping a lot of bubbles, and wielding a very large sword. When appropriate. But – for those of you who know me – that´s just how I roll.

But my heart has always been with the stars and the quiet, dark detached spaces they hold. To me, they have always seemed like home.

And yet my work, is in the here and the now. It looks like a new way is opening up for me and it´s going to be a very interesting dance of all of the above.

Wish me luck 🙂 The next chapter starts for me on a trip to India. I´m looking to do a second PhD there, this time in Sanskrit. Or in whatever else I´m supposed to be doing.

We´ll see – whatever it will become, it´s certainly a very interesting journey I signed up for.

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD

The Sky Priestess

REVELATIONS FROM THE UNDERWORLD: Vesta-conjunct-Mercury trine Pluto – inconjunct Saturn, The Scorpio Full Moon, Mars-Pluto-Mercury Retrograde

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Where do I even begin. I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. after a dream that revealed the time of my death (checks out astrologically, nowhere soon, don´t worry) and very specific pieces of information (key dates and such) that would facilitate my journey ahead. It looks like Shadow-Working and Priestess-ing is certainly The Big Theme for me this time round. As is working with the energies of the Lion Goddess – and potentially – down the line – a deeper form of Buddhism (I take a syncretic approach to religion).

Given current astrology, I would not be surprised if that struck a chord with many other facilitators at this time.

In my dream, and it was one of those dreams where you know you´re not really dreaming – I had chosen to die for some reason and had jumped the queue (there was a queue, yes). I was administered with Serpent Venom (Lachesis), but it failed to work. Within the dream I saw my etheric body travel to other spaces, to deliver messages it needed to. I was in a state of euphoria and giddiness. Then I returned to my dream-body. I realized I had a job to do, decided it was time to leave the hospice, and very joyfully decided to live.

Then I woke up. In this reality (to be clear).

What amazed me is the specificity of the information I received in the dream. I was guided to key dates matching profound astrological shifts in my life and in the lives of those nearest to me. I took down some notes, and now I´m writing to you guys.

Be it through a prophetic dream, a message from the world around you, writing you see on the wall, a book you read – this is the time to pay attention to messages as they seek you out. Mercury (The Messenger) conjuncts Vesta (The Priestess) at 16´58 Taurus (The Earth-Plane, Sensuality, Relationships with the Material world). Most of these messages will be related to the way you Serve on this Material, Earthly Plane. (Chimed in well with the messages I received).

I say this connects with the archetype of the Underworld, and related themes of Death, Transformation, Re-birth and so on because Vesta/Mercury also trines Pluto (17 Capricorn), Lord of that Realm (as per later Greco-Roman mythology). Pluto rules Scorpio, which naturally opposes Taurus´ energy – that only reinforces the balance between the Upper and the Lower expressions of Earth-energy. Think of green hills and pastures, mountains and meadows, trees, rivers and so on vis a vis the nurturing depths of a cave, the darkness of the Void beneath the Earth´s Surface, the fiery-red core.

So in other words, it may be a link between priestess-messaging-death/rebirth – be in in the physical or the archetypal way, or both. Or, considering Pluto´s position in Capricorn, a glimpse as to the legacy you are called to leave behind by way of the Service you perform in the tangible Earth-realm.

That question of legacy – what you are called into being to leave behind for future generations to inherit – is also reinforced by Vesta/Mercury´s inconjunct with Saturn Retrograde (15 Sagittarius). It means that the message we receive now tells us about the belief systems we need to either detach from, or consolidate our belief in. It tells us about the roads we need to take to get to our desired destination and need to cut away from things that ultimately lead us elsewhere.

For those of you with bodies near 15-17 Libra and/or Cancer will experience this as a powerful Yod (Finger of Fate). That is a current of karmic acceleration, bringing you to a pivotal decision point – where you choose to remain in one cycle, or to move to another. In my case, For me that meant that my South Node completed the Yod. It makes sense – a profound release or ´letting go´ (and a letting go of wanting to let go, to get meta about it).

There´s another reason why the Underworld is involved so strongly in this alignment. Multiple Retrogrades. Here´s a brief timeline (and other alignments as well, for context):

Mercury conjuncts Vesta – 16´58 Taurus at 22:10, UTC, 16 April 2016.

Mars Retrograde Begins: 8´54 Sagittarius at 12:13 pm, UTC, 17 April 2016

Vesta trines Pluto Retrograde – 19´29 Taurus at 2:29 am, UTC, 18 April 2016

Pluto Retrograde Begins: 17´29 Capricorn at 7:25 am, UTC, 18 April 2016

SUN SHIFTS INTO TAURUS, LEAVES ARIES: 15:29 pm, UTC, 19 April 2016.

FULL MOON IN SCORPIO: 2´30 Scorpio at 5:23 am, UTC, 22 April 2016

Mercury Retrograde Begins: 23´36 Taurus 17:19 pm, UTC, 28 April 2016

In a nutshell, there´s plenty of messages coming from the Shadow / The Darkness (in its Sacred, and less Happy forms) / The Underworld. You see this the Pluto-Vesta/Mercury trine, the Pluto Retrograde (5 hours later) and the Full Moon in Scorpio.

There´s also a strong reminder that – no matter how deep you get – the work you do is still meant to be drawn back to the Surface, onto this more visible manifestation of physical reality and the lives we lead within it. That comes from Vesta, Mercury and the Sun in Taurus´energies (especially after 22 April). Bear in mind that Mercury retrogrades in Taurus on the 28th of April, until May 21/22 (depending on where you are in the world). Mercury finally leaves Taurus on June 12/13.

Between now to mid-June – it is an excellent time to ponder the messages of service that come to you now. I would suggest against entering any new business / energetic mergers / intimate relationships or partnerships at this time – and to take the time to review, integrate and reformulate your own strategies. It´s also a great time to take stock of your energetic and material reserves and to thinking about ways you can ´give back´, be it through charity, investment in environmental conservation, you name it.

The Mars and Pluto Retrogrades are very different kettles of fish. And I´ll cover them in a different article. Essentially a time to slow down, pay attention to the health of the body (especially with regards to movement, the sciatic nerve, hips, thighs and so on – from – http://www.homeoint.org/morrell/astrology/medical.htm – just as a general guide). Essentially a time to look before you leap (check to see if there´s a cliff before taking the plunge into something new).

The Pluto Retrograde essentially asks us to take the time out to sit with the deeper substance of the Self. During the Dark Goddess workshop I held, many new techniques of doing so emerged spontaneously through the space held. I look forwards to being able to share them with you 🙂 As a general introduction – turn off all the lights, snuggle up with your favourite black and a nice grounding crystal (trying getting natural smoky quartz – some of it looks so dark, it looks black!) and observe.

More on all that when it´s time to write about them. I can see why I was told to take a timeout from sessions till the 21st 🙂

Keep dreaming, keep listening and stay tuned for the messages that come!

Blessings, hugs and Love!

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD

The Sky Priestess

Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2016.

Image: Fresh crater on the surface of Vesta photographied by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft OTD 63 full.jpg – By NASA/JPL [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Terms of Use and Sharing: Feel free to use the Share button on FB or Reblog on WordPress for personal, noncommercial or educational use with all links intact. If you are an organization, insitution or individual seeking to use this material for promotional purposes, please ask first. If wanting to include this information into your workshop materials or written work, please cite accordingly. Sessions are subject to T&Cs explained in the invoice and during the session itself. Having or purchasing the sessions implies tacit acceptance of all T&Cs. All information provided, be it through sessions or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel.

FINDING THE ‘NEW’ NORMAL

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I’m in a very different place right now than when I started this …. life path in the public eye. My ideas of success, public service / image and ideals surrounding the legacy I wish to create (Capricorn) have utterly transformed. I hardly recognize some parts of myself anymore, but also see the new bits as the natural successors of the old.

Even if this process of transformation has seemed erratic and powerful and intense to me, from the sky’s point of view it is inevitable as the seedling’s first push through the hard shell that once protected it.

I don’t suppose I’m alone in feeling this way. I suppose it’s a sudden movement and transformation that has taken many of us by complete surprise. Inevitable, really when you look at all the precursors to it present in 2014. But still somehow surprising to the human mind, when you look back and realize that the old way of being simply seems inaccessible and unintelligible to/in the present.

For me, at the very least, I look at this year as a New Beginning. One where I re-learn everything I thought I knew about myself, but in a wholly different way. Rather than run, leap, soar – I’m being asked to sit, then finally learn to crawl again – but in a whole new way, opening up a whole new sense of Self-hood. And maybe sitting still in this way is a whole lot more effective than anything else I’ve done so far.

But that’s me, and each journey is different. Some of you will resonate with this, others may be experiencing the complete opposite, or something wholly different. And it’s all cool.

Somehow through this profound shifting of self-awareness, there is this fundamental movement towards a far deeper sense of Balance and Acceptance of Self than I have ever imagined possible.

I envision this … transformative process to radically alter the frequency of the work that I produce (both in terms of vibration and simply, how frequently I wrote), the facilitations that I perform, and so on. So let’s see how this unfolds !

Blessings and Joy To All,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image: Impressionistic ripples.jpg – By jenny downing from Geneva, Switzerland [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

SPIRITUALITY & SUCCESS: AN INVITATION TO REFLECT

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I’ve been doing a lot of work and getting a lot of recognition for the work I do lately, and it has made me reflect upon the way I see success, especially for the spiritual servant or facilitator.

There are many ways to define and measure success – its more common association is with recognition, authority, achievement and power (a theme connected with Capricorn, the sign that the New Moon will be in at 0 degrees).

As far as I am concerned, titles, positions, achievements and/or recognition – these are sometimes necessary manifestations and tools to do the work one came to do, but they are its externalized forms. Just as an apple must have a solid form to be crunchy to taste – simply a means to an end.

I came to this conclusion after looking at the continued evolution of a member of my household, one of the greatest people I know and love, and who has had a profound influence on my path: My Father, Mr. Thannambikai Balasubramaniam. A bit of back-story will put my views in context:

A man who began with humble origins as the son of a cook and a rubber tapper – who rose to power and carved out his own niche in the world. He inspired thousands of people to become multi-millionaires and to understand that Success was in their own Hands. As a motivational speaker and trainer he is the pioneer of many concepts, approaches, formats and programs, within the Tamil-language motivational circuit.

Over the years, I saw my father transform and with it his understanding of what Success meant. As his vibration continued to evolve, so too did the content and level of awareness in his programs. He now speaks on the bridge between Spirituality and Prosperity, anchoring the awareness that both are required for us to do the work we came to do in this 3-D Manifestation of Reality.

The funny thing is that my father, brother, mother and I tend to evolve in parallel, even if we’re thousands of miles apart. Just one of those deeply connected family ties, in which are all the other’s Teacher. My ideas impact my father’s path, and his impact mine – it’s quite an interesting household. I’ve also been working with my father in a professional capacity for about 17 years.

What I’ve (and certainly my father has) noticed was that people got caught up in the success and power they manifested in their lives. Egotism, a false sense of authority, over-confidence, a disregard for empathy and morality are some of the things that can result when you consider ‘money as the measuring gauge of the soul’ (to quote my Mother) .

That’s not a great thing in itself, but it gets even worse when you see how spiritual work becomes over-commercialized and a means for individuals to solely gratify their own egoic desires. Within the Tamil community (and certainly in other communities and diasporas across the globe), there is this horrible muddling of spiritual work and material success that sometimes ensues.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against a spiritualist getting money or recognition for the work as a natural consequence of their spiritual service – the problem is when that desire for power or recognition trumps the work itself!

*** And – to add a perspective from my Mother – sometimes we do need tools like a position or finances to actually do what we need to do. Whether it’s funding for research or building a spiritual retreat, or having a roof over your head so you can meditate in peace and make sure you or your kids don’t go hungry, or being able to to contribute to a charity to your cause. Money and Power are important Tools on the contemporary Spiritual Path. ***

The level of that importance, differs by the individual Soul’s purpose of incarnation. When Money, Power, and Recognition become the Goal in itself, rather than your Tools, I see it as an ‘Inversion of Energy’.

Moreover, I have found that the necessary tools – be it money, power or a platform to speak on – generally do present themselves with ease to one who is aligned with their purpose. These are things that you do not have to go and seek – do your part and the right tools will come. Have the skills and preparation you need to work with them when the time comes. And it will.

Unfortunately, the inversion of energy (Tools that become Goals) that I spoke of is becoming so widespread that any indicator of worldly success is seen with increasing skepticism and sometimes resentment in spiritual circles.

This need not be the case – as long as you know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Stay true to your own Path and Soul Purpose, and you’ll be fine.

I see the Ego as the Root of this skepticism/resentment/defamation of ‘Success’ in Spiritual Service.

The fear of falling into the trap of the Ego has resulted in a fear of anything that the Ego might enjoy – be it success, wealth, pleasure, achievement or recognition. However, I find that running away from something because you’re afraid of it is simply another form of spiritual evasion. A point of reflection which I would encourage exploration of and reflection on. (Hence why I chose to write this post)

In the shadow of the Solstice, the New Moon in Capricorn, Uranus now having stationed direct and the still-potent energy of Venus conjunct Pluto (in Capricorn) squared Uranus … here’s a small exercise of reflection I invite all of you to participate in.

(1) Define what Success is to you. What does a Successful Life Look Like? You can answer in terms of imagination, energy, abstraction – whatever you like.

(2) How do you measure that Success?

(3) What will and won’t you do to achieve that Success?

(4) Who were your mentors, role models and Influencers who taught you how to think about and access the Vibration of Success?

Answer these questions and that’s half the battle won.

For example: Success for me lies in the Spiritual Service that I Perform. I measure my success by the way I feel about what I do and how I accomplish it.

Questions that I ask myself:

Am I happy with my work? Am I happy with myself?
Do I remember that I am but a Vessel, or Channel for the energy of Source that comes through?
Do I remember to connect with each person as a being worthy of respect and love, with a Shared Cosmic Origin?
Do I stay connected to the Divine through my Heart, Womb, Soul and every aspect of my Being?
Do I manage to Balance all aspects of my life (my inner world and outer world) with the work that I do?
Do I perform my task in a way that resonates with my sense of ethics?

These questions also represent my inner barometer. Astrologers amongst you would probably giggle at the fact I have Vesta (Priestess / Spiritual Servant) in Aries (Sense of Self) at my Midheaven (10th house Career or Legacy Point). My Sun is in Capricorn, in the 6th house of Service, bordering 7th house.

So yes – whilst these answers make perfect sense to my Soul, they don’t need to be the same for You!

Find your own answers my friends and that is half the battle won x

This is a powerful time to be performing this introspective exercise on account of current astrological alignments. Set your intentions with integrity for that which you seek to accomplish – and you’ll see some form of a culmination/answer/fruit to during the Capricorn Full Moon, 6 months from now.

Infinite Blessings to you All From the Very Source of Creation itself x

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
Founder & Editor of Aanmavin Kural: The Voice of The Soul E-Magazine
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image: Kamatchi Villaku, Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2014

First Full-Length Academic Publication (Whooooooo!)

Oh my god I am published

OH MY GOD. I am published! Well, at least an article of mine is. A follow-up piece from my thesis. I am a contributor to an academic book called Democracy in Practice. Mine’s Chapter 7, entitled ‘The Indian Parliament: Performing Decline since the 1960s’. And oh my goodness – I’m so chuffed they got my name right! 😀 😀 😀

I’m in shock, talking to my brother on skype, but still in shock to actually see it printed, at least in the table of contents. Still haven’t seen the printed volume yet.

A good kind of shock to which my response is deep gratitude to the Divine and all things which made this first academic publication possible.

Blessings to All,

Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

For more info on the book itself – see:http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/democracy-in-practice-shirin-m-rai/?K=9781137361905

For those wanting a summary of this article: The Indian Parliament: Performing Decline since the 1960s (Chapter 7) –  This is my first full-length academic publication, as part of ‘Democracy in Practice’, edited by Professor Shirin M. Rai and Dr. Rachel Johnson. In this chapter, I speak about the historical changes that have marked an evolution in the form, function and significance of parliamentary performances in the Indian context. Ultimately I question the applicability of the ‘decline hypothesis’ to the Indian legislature, using a multi-disciplinary analytical framework centered around the construct of ‘performance’.

THE PATH OF THE PRIESTESS: PEACE? WAR? HEALING? TRANSMUTATION? LOVE? ALCHEMY?

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As Priestesses – what is it that we do? Do we hold someone’s hand and listen to them pour their hearts out? Do we just ‘talk straight’, and tell someone what they really need to hear? Do we heal? Do we inspire? Do we defend? Do we terrify? Do we help out behind the scenes or jump straight into the heart of things?

Yes…  Yes… and Yes ….

And a lot more besides …

Being a Priestess does not require a religion, or even any understanding of faith (as paradoxical as that sounds). Some Priestesses use a Title, and some others do not even recognize the construct – doesn’t stop them from being one though 😉 And both approaches are just as valid.

And just to be clear – whilst I tend to address my posts to all genders, this one has a strong emphasis on the Feminine. The Priest’s Path of Service tends to be slightly different – but those who have a balanced sense of Masculine/Feminine will be able to relate to this piece as well.

What I have seen across the board is this: Priestesses live day-to-day with eyes in this world and in plenty others simultaneously. They see the movement of Spirit, Divinity, Grace, Life through all that occurs and honor, amplify or simply recognize that movement through some form of Service. As a Priestess upholds, embodies and anchors that vibration of Living-in-Communion, she naturally becomes a beacon that others are drawn to – a Gateway, if you will – to Healing and Re-connection.

Sometimes it’s a pleasant process, and at other times, it can be extremely uncomfortable. Some Priestesses are gentler, others are harsher. Some see joy and life in the world, and others see the rot and are focused upon its healing. Sometimes both, and a lot more besides. There’s just no generalizing it.

You can find a Priestess in a hospital, in a church, in a pagan community, in a social care center, in parliament, in a corporation, in a mirror – anywhere where there is a Woman able to see this Movement/Vibration and Align herself with it.

But more than any of that – there’s the Devotion, or Dedication to a particular Cause, Vibration or Idea. In ancient times, many of us chose death over the forsaking of our beliefs; We chose our cause of devotion over much-desired love and comfort; We chose to walk the route that no one else dared or wanted to even approach (as so many awakening priestesses are beginning to remember).

Some of us continue to make those same choices. And in some parts of the world, it really is a matter of life-and-death. For most of us, the repercussions are nowhere near as dire. But that does not make our choices any less significant.

We see it when we are called to speak our Truth to friends, family, colleagues, lovers, and so on. We see it in our thoughts, emotions, ideas and very substance, or essence of Being.

A constantly running red thread … that keeps pulsing, as real as your heartbeat. The sound of an invisible drum, a rhythm your Soul keeps dancing to. Each footstep, each time you follow that thread – a Choice is Made.

At times these choices seems like Trials – Trials of Fire and Spirit that just keep you going forward, come what may. Some with more intensity, others less so (and both is fine).

The choices that come in our lives, which call us to always, always look at things from a Transcendent Perspective. We’re always called to take the ‘higher/deeper’ road – and nothing exists in half-measures.

There is this constant intensity – be if of joy, trials, sorrow, anger – or any other emotional state (sometimes all) as Priestesses begin to remember and embody their Sacred Archetypes.

It’s not all grim, but it’s not all cupcakes and roses either. There is a beauty to this path, but also a great striving that accompanies it – especially in the earlier phases of awakening.

In my case, I was recognized as a Priestess (without the title ever being used) by a spiritually attuned mother and a father who recognized me as his teacher (and I him) from infancy. Even so, Living the Path, has not been a walk in the park (and that too, is a part of my Service).

In my earlier years, given my name (Bhairavi – Destroyer of Obstacles, The Most Terrifying Aspect of Maha-Kali) and cultural background (where Goddesses are shown sticking tridents into and impaling ‘demons’) – the biggest lesson I had to learn was in the Mode, or Type of Service I was called to give. The ‘battle metaphor’ had to dissolve (which took some work, and the help of friends), till I was better able to see the full spectrum of things.

So here’s some of what I’ve learnt:

(1) Leaping into battle doesn’t always work. But neither does dropping all your defenses and walking in as the pacifist.

(2) Mediation, Healing and Transmutation isn’t always the best course of action (at least, not at first). Sometimes Defending, Protecting and Making a Boundary is.

(3) Holding your ground is right sometimes, but so is complete Surrender.

(4) Not backing down is just as valid as turning your back and walking away

(5) Not all crises are yours to solve, not all problems you encounter are a part of the work that you came to do.

(Sometimes we feel indispensable, and that too is a part of the ego learning that this Priestessing business is not something you can put in a box 😀 )

(6) There is no ‘one formula’ or ‘mode’ that can be used for every situation – nothing is generalizable

(7) The moment you think you ‘know’ something, the Universe shows up with a whole new thing for you to learn. It’s endless, and that’s a beautiful thing in itself.

I’d like to think that I integrate a wider repertoire of these responses in the current way I walk my path, and that I will continue to learn more as time progresses. My trident (claws/ferocity) is there in the background should I ever truly require it, but a more peaceful approach tends to solve most issues.

But one thing I have learnt through all of this is the following:

That there is no ‘default’ response for what a Priestess does, when she is Called to Serve. We are all different, and our Paths and Purposes are different – as are the wide range of situations we encounter in our individual lives.

So there is no need to generalize, to compare one’s path with another, or to try and create a ‘standard formula for Priestessing’.

Here’s what I wrote to a friend earlier today, on the same subject – and with these words I leave you to your thoughts:

At times we will be called into battle to seek the peace through mediation. And at other times, we will be called to fortify the defenses against assault. Sometimes it’s making sure the crops grow and people are safe. It’s very very relative.

 At times we burn, at times we heal, at times we stand our ground, or build bridges – and at times, we make sure we turn and never look back. All are necessary, all are equal, and all are …. specific to the circumstance.
* * *
Blessings to All,
Image Information: Me at Thanjavur Periya Kovil, 2010. (c) Bairavee Balasubramaniam

Goodbye Limbo, Hello New Chapter in Life

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I’ve been thinking about what message I uniquely bring to the world, what I want to contribute and how, what will eventually be a large part of the legacy I leave behind when I ultimately leave this planet (yes that’s Mars in Capricorn talking, and yes I have a Capricorn Sun conjunct Neptune, and yes, that is currently conjuncting transiting Mars – all in Grand Cross involving Lilith-Apogee )

I’ve been thinking about writing books, organizing courses and workshops – and I’m the type of person who would rather say nothing at all unless I felt I had something to say of value. I’ve been involved in several different fields in my life so far – political science, creativity (from the neuroscientific perspective), social work, mentorship, educating children and young adults, public speaking – and of course, astrology and spirituality. (and other stuff)

I feel that the next step in my journey would be tying all that I know, and continue to learn together, with my awakening spiritual path.

Whilst nothing in the spiritual world is truly ‘new’, the way in we channel messages or impart teachings, infused with the originality that comes from our Unique Selves, often adds to that message in powerful ways. All of us have our own powerful messages to bring – this is an exploration of my own, and I hope it inspires a process of reflection and engagement with your own.

I feel that my key message at this is to re-introduce an awareness of the totality of Mother Kali. She goes beyond Death and Darkness — and is so much more than being just about Feminine Rage and Accepting the Shadow – in fact you could say that’s the first step of getting to know her and work with her. And whilst more and more people are starting to wake up to this realization (as I did too), the world really needs this information to get out there.

The last thing we need is more division and stereotyping in our individual and collective Journeys.

So this is going to be my focus, and my emphasis – and I’m pleased to announce – also the subject of my first Book. Whilst I will refer to scripture where required, it will be more of a personal exploration and the understanding of Her which she has inspired in me. She’s taking me someplace else in my life right now internally, but I feel as though this is the work that I am called to do externally.

(Finally! Now I know what I’m supposed to be doing at this time!)

And by no coincidence or surprise whatsoever, I was elected (earlier today) to to be the Director of International Affairs & Diversity at The Foundation for the Spiritual Practice of Creativity. It’s a yearly renewable position, and I hope to do much work with the Foundation.

Blessings and Joy to All,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

WE DID IT! SAATHICHITHOM! – A 21-Year Journey and Its Final Release

Saathichithom

Yesterday, I was privileged to graduate as a PhD (again), at a special first-of-its kind ceremony organized by the British High Commission and British Council for local graduates. It was a powerful moment of closure for me, and whilst I was so incredibly happy to have both my parents in attendance and a glorious day — deep emotions were working through me.

My educational journey has been an unusual one to say the least. I was intellectually advanced as a young toddler – reading materials that were 6, sometimes 9 years ahead of my reading group. My older brother was the same. Amma (Mum) knew how to stimulate our brains and whet our appetites for knowledge. If the natural aptitude that I or my brother had was a seed, Amma’s nurturing was the fertile soil in which it could sprout, and Appa’s (Dad’s) confidence the sunshine it needed.

When I eventually began kindergarten and primary school, a lot of the glowing self-confidence and the natural aptitude for self-study I had was dimmed, but not entirely snuffed out. Issues of race plagued my early years, with teachers going out of their way to humiliate me for my aptitude ‘despite’ my dark skin and Tamil identity. The administration saw fit to deny me the yearly prizes children would receive (for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) despite my having top marks. All on the grounds that other parents complained that ‘a Tamil girl could have never beaten my son/daughter [gradeswise]’.

My mother of course, challenged the ruling by fighting like a tigress on my behalf. She never used coarse language, or raised her voice – but challenged the treatment I received with eloquent words, with facts and undeniable, documented, evidence.

I recall one formative experience, where I was late from my tae-kwon-do class (organized as part of school curricula) and had no time to change back into my school uniform. The teacher decided she would lock me out, stop what the class was doing and get the entire class to laugh and jeer at me, staring through the window. One of the kids was a boy whom the teacher regularly allowed to bully and utterly traumatize me each day – with some kind of plastic blade. She knew about it, and let it happen. All this when I was in Grade 1, so I was 6-7 years old.

Each year was a battle, my mother had to fight like a tigress, with my dad’s support just so I would get fair treatment. My brother had been through a similar experience, but his was a state-run school, and so my parents (at that time) had little recourse to methods of protest.

It was a very challenging childhood. Intense bullying. Psychological scars, a complete devastation of my self-esteem and I could not even imagine myself as beautiful.

My grades eventually slipped, and the bullying was less. I wasn’t the best in classes anymore, and a part of my identity just went into hiding from all of that pressure. There were literally – no other choices that my family could have made at the time.

When I was 11, I finished primary school (Grade 6) and announced to my parents that I would no longer be attending. They knew what I could do, and supported my decision. I then started a very dedicated, purely focused phase in my life completely committed to my education. That journey took me across several different continents.

I never really took in it, or saw it as a special achievement – till yesterday.

For me, it was just an act of survival and self-preservation. I had to find a way to be myself. It wasn’t an ideological statement or the ego’s desire for grand gestures – it was literally the only way I could survive without being crushed entirely.

Summarizing a few years, I essentially completed 6 years of secondary school education with self-tutelage in less than a year. Attempting to study at other institutions brought back the race issue (it’s there if you’re at the top and are outspoken), and, caused severe conflicts with the university administration. My political consciousness was awakening, my voice was emerging and I was no longer going to be silent.

During this time, I had my IQ tested and it was found to be at the genius-level (top 2%) when I was 12 and, later, at 15. I independently sat for and completed my O Levels at 13, did my American SATs (1 & 2), TOEFL and ACT.

We didn’t have help. All I had was my family and the Blessings of the Divine. We had no special connections, no favours, no hand-ups. Nothing. Everything was a battle, everything was a struggle. But we did it.

At 16 (in 2003), after a few years of social work with my father and emerging in my own right as the youngest trainer in the country, I finally went overseas. My political awareness needed an environment where speech was truly free. I went to the USA on my first scholarship, unaccompanied. There, I began with Physics (which was my first love as a child) and switched to Political Science. This was through the gifted teachings of Professor Benson Onyeji at Manchester College (now Manchester University). He introduced me to the histories of colonialism, the language of repression, the political economy of dependency. And the Model UN

I then left for International University Bremen (now Jacobs University Bremen) in Germany. I finished 3 years of an already accelerated program in 2 years by taking double the courseload and having a very full, active, student life. It was this time, I actually began to notice that – I was actually beautiful. I had my first experiences of organizing campus-wide petitions and more structured approaches to engaging with campus administration. I discovered I could paint and dance and play. And that was wonderful.

At 19, I graduated with my Bachelor’s in International Politics and History (a President’s List Scholar) and received a merit-based scholarship and Research Assistantship with Prof. Markus Jachtenfuchs at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin. I had to leave the program two months after it began primarily due to illness in the family. I spent some time in India and Malaysia, and when all had settled down enough – out of the blue – I got accepted to begin my PhD, despite not having a Master’s. It was very unusual at that time.

Professor Shirin M. Rai at the University of Warwick (UK) had a visionary idea – to study aspects of ceremony and ritual in Parliaments, through a gendered lens. Having spent time in India, I sent a letter of interest and she wanted to have me on board. I got that confirmation on September 14th, 2007. And so another leg of the journey began, this time funded by the Leverhulme Trust – the one of the largest providers of grants for research in the UK.

I was 20 and I remember seeing a magpie on the way from Manchester Airport. And a whole new chapter in my life began. Through that journey, I would be standing at the House of Lords, the Indian Parliament, the Romanian Parliament, speaking at various universities/conferences and evolving through to the next phase of my life.

I was seriously ill for a great part of my PhD, and I fought through it. I faced some of the hardest challenges in my life to-date, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. And looking back at it all now – I wonder how I did it.

My PhD was passed with minor corrections – I remember the examiners being overjoyed – one them said, during the viva ‘thank you for writing this’. I did ask her about it later, and she said she meant it, she really felt I did good work. (I am my harshest critic … so hearing that meant a lot). In its final version, my thesis was 111,000 words and I could barely lift it. I remember submitting it, and it was about as heavy as a newborn. I had just turned 25.

Through the 5 years I spent in the UK, I learnt so much. I began to expand and blossom in so many ways through utterly debilitating circumstances. I made deep friendships and set sail for a new trajectory in my life.

When I had my actual graduation at the University of Warwick in 2013, race was an issue again. And that graduation felt as though I was in a battlefield, once more. Because the PhD gown was so markedly different from the other undergraduates’, I got started at sharply in a very unpleasant way – it wasn’t just one person, quite a few people did and those with me noticed it. I didn’t understand why … till one of the parents went out of her way to make it clear.

In the most condescending way possible, she wanted to know whether ‘I had problems with English’ and whether ‘I had borrowed the gown’ – she was unhappy her son didn’t have it. I didn’t get why she was asking me such strange questions at the time, but I managed to deflect it politely.

Friends I have mentioned this to were utterly scandalized by it, as was someone working within the University. I don’t think it’s a representative experience, but it did happen. And I am so grateful I did not have to go through that alone, but I cannot say that it was a pleasant experience.

My parents were sadly not able to be there, but my mentor was – and my supervisor also arrived just in time for me to emerge from the gowning – a very key rite of passage.

I didn’t have that feeling or sense of achievement. I felt weary. Weary that thousands of miles away, I was still the unwanted Tamil girl who couldn’t be allowed to be her best without someone trying to put her in her place. Not that I let them, but I had hoped I wouldn’t have to face it again, after so many years.

A year later, when I received an invitation for another graduation ceremony, to celebrate the achievements of local graduates who had their PhDs from the UK – I snapped up the opportunity instantly. My parents could of course, attend!

So yesterday, I had those big moments. The ones I yearned for. My dad was waiting for me with his camera as I stepped out of the gowning. My mum and dad were so proud. And it was a relaxed environment. People were celebrating one another, rather trying to put anyone down. I could hold my head up high. And any looks I got were of mutual recognition (of achievement) or happy admiration as part of a festive occasion.

But I wasn’t celebrating. I felt heavy with the weight of release … of a wound I’d held so close to me, deep within for 21 years.

The idea that my skin made me less worthy. That it meant I could never achieve anything. That I was ugly. That I was never going to be celebrated for who I was.

That wound finally healed yesterday.

I was waiting to get gowned again, and I realized the significance of this ceremony in my life, and the complete release that it was giving me, at long last. Taking it all in, I could barely stand. My legs felt weak, but I took a deep breath and kept going on.

My achievements – whilst I’m cognitively aware of them – are never ones that I really celebrated or took deep pride in. I was happy, but I never thought of them as big things.

Standing in a crowd of my peers, as the only dark-skinned woman in a saree, with that much coveted PhD plush hat and shimmering robe … I knew this was a lot more than being ‘just about me’.

It was an act of Representation. For my family, for the Tamil community in which I am a public figure, for every dark skinned child who has ever had their soul crushed through prejudice. I represent the undeniable statement – of YES, WE CAN.

I say we because I could not have done any of this alone. I worked like a machine through all those years – but this is not the achievement of just one person. But of many.

I couldn’t have done this without the upbringing I had, my parents’ emotional support, and also financially when scholarships did not cover it all. Not without the opportunities that people who had faith in me gave me. Opportunities to prove myself. To do something. Not without the Grace of the Divine and its Blessings. Not without friends whom I consider family.

And so, after a day of ceremony and an evening of celebration with my parents, as I lay in my bed, I finally released the emotions I’d been holding so close to my chest for 21 years. And I fell asleep crying, saying these words over and over again…

Thank you. We did It!

And In Tamil:

Saathichithom!

~ Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

A PRIESTESS ON THE PATH OF FORMLESSNESS AS TAUGHT BY THE DARK MOTHER

405px-ASHES_IN_THE_WIND_1996

Recent weeks have really opened up a whole new chapter in my life and my Understanding of Spirit. I began my journey as a Priestess in the Service of the Dark Mother (which – for new readers – has absolutely nothing to do with Evil). I thought that my role was to speak out for the re-institution of the tradition of the Priestess, and the many discriminatory practices that surround so many faith-based practices and texts. I still see that as my role, but the way I interpret it has changed dramatically.

These changes began in Nepal, when I both died and fell in Love with a sacred site to Lord Shiva I found through pure instinct (with no conscious clues of any description). Something in me could no longer exclusively identify with a Female conception of Divinity as somehow superior to the male. Or to ignore that aspect of Spirit. Lord Shiva has always featured in my life some how, but it was that experience that really cemented the indivisibility between the Masculine, the Feminine and my Path.

Recently, another shift has happened. God and Goddess made sense before – and now they don’t – not in the same way they did before. The balance of dual energies seemed like the pinnacle, and now they just seem like one part of many. Deities, and demigods that seemed to be the end-all, now look as though they are intermediate facilitators – or perhaps partial reflections – of a more Transcendental Energy.

I don’t deny their existence or their value in the spiritual path, only that they occupy a different space in my understanding of the Cosmos than they did before. An in some way, that re-framing makes their Presence even more palpable.

Rather than looking for the Divine ‘out there’, my focus has always been within. Despite my academic background, the direction of my spiritual growth has rarely been through the Mind to the Heart, but from the Womb to the Heart to the Mind – in the spirit of a very feminine process of gnosis. So not so much about the abstract concepts or the words or ideologies, but all of this knowing and re-knowing and learning and un-learning has been prompted by whatever spiritual Curriculum my Soul chose to manifest. And for me the guide or pathway to this understanding has been through the Dark Goddess – particularly in her Crone Aspect.

The more I realize, the less I ‘know’. I hope that makes sense. All of this is felt change, change the body and the womb stir me into re-membering, rather than the rationalizing attempts of a mind. But the more I feel, the more logical it seems. And this whole Rational-Emotional divide seems less and less relevant.

Perhaps I’m at the start of what many are calling 5D evolution? Perhaps my consciousness is beginning to understand what lies beyond dualism? Maybe even a glimpse of Reality behind the Veil?

Who knows. I’m just going with the flow. And not letting me get ahead of myself. There’s too much for me to discover for me to assume that I can authoritatively say ‘This Is It’.

So I’ve been thinking about how to define myself and my path – as it is now, and believe you me – it will evolve — And here are the key components of it so to speak:

(1) Authenticity: If it isn’t you, don’t do it, don’t be it. Just be you.
(2) Vulnerability: If it hides you away from your wounds (healing and transcending is a different process), then something’s up – if it gives you a false sense of superiority, invincibility or security – then something’ s definitely up
(3) Integrity & Honesty (Related to Authenticity, but not quite the same thing – you could be an Authentic Jerk… )
(4) Non-permanence and Formlessness: The Universe is a pretty big place. I doubt Divinity looks Human, if it has a shape at all. With so much going on, and Energy shifting the way it does (call it Spirit) — I would somehow be uncomfortable with an idea of a Stable, Eternal, Absolute Truth for a Universe essentially Dancing in Motion as we speak.
(5) (Seeming) Paradox – To see the Formless through Form. To see Spirit through Matter. To work with Energy within the confines of Matter.
(6) Relentless Questioning – The fact my spiritual path survives my constant questioning is a sign that … I’m probably doing what I need to be doing.

Again, these are ideas to be expanded upon. Not quite my priestess manifesto …
And they will evolve. But they’ve moved on to the point where I can safely say:

That I am a Priestess on the Path of Formlessness, as taught to me by the Dark Mother. I love God as I love Goddess: They are two parts of Many that make up the Whole.

You might ask – why still use the ‘Title’ of Priestess – why make that distinction? Truth be told, someday, we will all realize the Divinity within us – and will need no intermediaries or facilitators. Until that day we will still require a label, title or marker to simply describe what we (facilitators) do.

As we collectively shift, we are unearthing so many divisions and distinctions that have kept so many away from a recognition of their Innate Divinity. (And here’s where Paradox enters…) Like the being who has incarnated to dissolve a karmic seed, and must fully express that desire before it can be released – I feel that we must honor, recognize and allow all Forms of Form to flourish, before we release the need for them in their entirety.

Sadly, the Priestess-hood and the right of Woman to hold any Divine status is still challenged today. And the work that I do serves to bring that Form into full realization once more, before it can all be (ultimately) Dissolved. When that day comes (and if I’m still in the cycle or birth-rebirth) I shall no longer use that title to describe my work as it will no longer be required.

But till then …..

This is Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Some articles of mine which talk about different aspects of this … Path of Formlessness. Others have of course written and spoken about this in different ways. I can, however, only speak for myself.

The Formless Feminine – The Dark Mother Who Led Me To This Path – Dhumavati-Ma: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/08/dhum-dhum-dhumavati-the-formless-shakti-of-smoke-detachment-priestess-bairavee-balasubramaniam-phd/

The Divine Does not Discriminate: http://wp.me/p4OUNS-7m
A Wake Up Call from My Brain: http://wp.me/p4OUNS-7u
Detachment and the Illusion of Form: http://wp.me/p4OUNS-5S
Dissolution: Maya Un-Masked – http://wp.me/p4OUNS-6G

Image Information: Ashes in the Wind 1996.jpg – By Richard Rappaport (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons