PART 2: BREAKING OUT OF STEREOTYPES: THE TRANS/GRESSIVE IDENTITY OF PALLAS ATHENA, THE GODDESS OF WAR, WISDOM AND ANDROGYNOUS ENERGIES A.K.A. ‘THE FIRST CAREER WOMAN’

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Pallas Athena is the warrior goddess of wisdom, courage, conviction, causes, strategy, healing and other fine qualities. She is a virgin goddess who never marries, takes a male partner, or gives birth to a child through her womb (though she raises one as a surrogate mother).

There is controversy surrounding her feminine identity and the way she treats those of her same sex. For instance, she accidentally kills her childhood friend Pallas, turns the proud and skilled weaver Arachne into a spider for her hubris, transforms the beautiful Medusa into the snake-headed Gorgon as she was raped, thereby defiling Athena’s temple. Feminists have debated the figure of Athena for years owing to her specific treatment of women, and the mythological cooptation of a deity from matriarchal society into a patriarchal one. This claim seems to have some weight when you consider her multiple origin narratives – a goddess of a lake in Libya, then as the daughter born of Titaness Metis … and then as the direct offspring of Zeus who sprang fully formed from his forehead, and in some stories as the daughter of Poseidon. 

A further myth tells us of how Goddess Athena’s victories have bestowed mixed blessings upon women. She and Lord Poseidon were competing to see who would become the patron deity of Athens. Athena won by gifting the Athenians the olive tree, but not without incurring the displeasure of Poseidon. The men of Athens then agreed to give up the citizenship rights of the women there to appease him. If I recall my first undergrad research paper on the subject correctly, they were supposedly too emotional and passionate to have any head for politics.

Goddess Athena is further differentiated from other female Greco-Roman goddesses by the fact that she refuses to engage in any form of sex (per most myths, others hint at same-sex interests), and does not bear children, though she has a foster child. As there is still so much of stigma surrounding women who cannot bear children, or who choose not to (and as I read recently, women who do not endure ‘normal, natural’ childbirth) – Moreover, she is severed from any Mother archetype or connection to the Womb as she is born of the head of Zeus (who actually devours his wife Metis so she may not bear an heir that would be more powerful than himself but Athena’s rising cannot be stopped – in one account). The Mother is devoured by the Father to avoid the birth of an heir who can surpass him. Because she is not male, Athena is automatically accepted by the Father as his ally as she bears no threat his supremacy.

Now I’m not saying that these myths are true, or that they are not. Personally, I have always loved the Goddess Athena and I find her courage to be one that speaks to every minority man/woman/LGBT person who has ever needed to step up and play in the big leagues, in ‘a man’s world’. But the myths are narratives that reflect a particular social and cultural context. And sadly, they still echo with the kinds of concerns that others still feel (and sometimes voice) when seeing a woman stepping into her own power – even today. (But it’s not her place! Her place is in the kitchen! Women must be soft spoken, it’s a man’s job to earn the money, if she’s out for work at night she must be a prostitute! etc. etc.) These fears are more visible in some cultures, but still present across the globe in one form or another.

But what do we do with this information?

I feel that collectively, we need to reclaim the figure of Goddess Athena from the mythological associations that somehow associate her assertive force with a betrayal of / alienation from her own biological sex (women) – and re-cast them in the modern day. This is my still-evolving take on this mighty Goddess:

Here we see the first ‘career woman’ who chose to divert her energies into her work, and not into raising children or pleasing a male partner in bed. In liberal societies today, many would recognize those choices in their own lives and feel the same weight of burden or stigma associated with them. In traditional societies, more women are beginning to rise up and exercise their right to live their lives beyond a biological/reproductive/heterosexual prescription.

Honestly, the choice needn’t be so stark, Women can be assertive and have careers and success and power without giving up their familial roles as mothers. They can be as nurturing and caring as they want to be. And they do not need to step on or curtail the expressions of power of their fellow sisters and brothers. And if women don’t like having a female form – depending on which part of the world they’re in – they can even change that too.

I would go out on a limb and say that if Athena was a human woman living today, she would likely be a (1) ‘career woman’ (in her cultural milieu) rejecting the prescriptions of patriarchy and/or (2) LGBT (think about it, same-sex partnerships, a female body that rejects any identification with biological processes unique to women and performs ‘as a man’).

So you could say – at least within the Greco-Roman pantheon, Goddess Athena was the first female form to break out of the stereotypical mold, exploring alternate meanings and expressions of female identity, power and role. So she is not just a Goddess for ‘women’ but for anyone daring to take a leap forward in uncharted territory: A Path-Maker.

Taking that in, all I can say is …

Wow.

Hail Athena!

Blessings,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

Part 1 of this series is available at: http://wp.me/p4OUNS-5y

 *I first published this article in another blog of mine on July 12, 2014. 

 Image Information: “Bust Athena Velletri Glyptothek Munich 213” by Unknown (Greek original by Kresilas) – User:Bibi Saint-Pol, own work, 2007-02-08. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bust_Athena_Velletri_Glyptothek_Munich_213.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bust_Athena_Velletri_Glyptothek_Munich_213.jpg

Kali Ma, The Dark Creator and Destroyer by Nancy Vedder-Shults

An exquisite article on Mother Kali ❤ One of the best I have ever read ❤

nancymug_3In contrast to our dualistic thinking here in the West — thinking that separates light from dark, life from death, and chaos from order –there are a number of Eastern philosophies and religions that have retained a more holistic approach to reality. One religion that has done a good job of preserving the awesomeness of its deities by representing them through the full spectrum of life, death and rebirth is the Hindu culture in India. Remarkably, most of the major Hindu gods and goddesses represent divinity as forms of “coincidence of opposites.” In other words, the great deities like Shiva, Vishnu and Devi (the Goddess), simultaneously encompass life and death, good and evil, darkness and light, creation and destruction. For Westerners who live in a society which easily polarizes such distinctions, looking at the living mythology of one of these divine figures might offer us some ideas of how we…

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A WOMAN’S SONG OF LONGING

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A WOMAN’S SONG OF LONGING

Day by day, I look into your eyes,
They freeze, they melt, my ego they terrorize,
I smile at their softness,
I swoon at their depth,
When will I see them?

Face to face,
Breath to Breath?

Do I seek you in the Mountains?
Do I seek you in the Seas?
In the Caves, in the Cities?
In the Ocean that is Me?

Where are you my love?
My ancient and future destiny…

With you I feel death is another form of love,
For only then I feel as though I can merge,
In between spaces,
Through realms unseen.

My love swirls into your Being,
Like Smoke from a Dream.

But no – you’ve different plans for me,
In the game of Formless Hide and Seek,
The only death of mine you’ll bear is an Ego tumbling down to its feet,
Will it be then – that we finally meet?

That my fingers can feel the warmth of your cheek?
Or the sound of your living beat?

Will it be a day when, I unawares,
Turn a corner and Find You –
There you Stand,
In Flesh in Blood,

The Dream as Form?

My Man.

Will you pull me close,
in the space between breath,
Between Love, Life, Purpose and Death?

Will you whisper through my Body,
The Sweet words of my Longing…

I’m here.
At last, my love.

*connect*

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Sun in Virgo Trines Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn, 3rd September 2014, 11:51 pm, GMT + 8

Tamme-Lauri_tamm_suvepäeval

Blessings all,

The Sun is the Light of Consciousness or Awareness. In Virgo, the Sun places your focus upon the routines, habits, rituals and other activities that allow you to preserve or maintain your life as you know it. This quality of preservation can be extended to other people, the Environment, and so on – bringing Virgo the quality of ‘service-provider’ that is commonly associated with her energy. I’ve spoken of the Virgo-as-Priestess and the many stereotypes surrounding this energy here for those who want a re-cap:http://wp.me/p4OUNS-5i

Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn is transforming our relationship with the super-conscious, and society’s definition of ‘success, achievement, authority, power and legacy’. It is the Transformational Agent that moves us deep to our Core, often through the modality of Crisis. The Crises that tend to occur are located within the Psyche, as we react to others, based on our projections of their behavior. Through Pluto’s transit in Capricorn, we will all have powerfully re-defined our understanding of Why We Are Here (Purpose), and what we leave behind for future generations (Legacy).

When both the Sun and Pluto Retrograde trine, what we get is a powerful bolt of energy between our conscious awareness and our deepest, ‘darkest’ (in the sense of being being hidden) secret selves and its relationship with power, success and the superego.

A lot that was hidden is going to come to light now. Many Shadow Sides thrown into the Light of Day. With Virgo, we are now called to judge Capricorn. Is this what we want to leave behind? Is this how we choose to Build our collective Future? What to we draw our Boundaries and keep out of our Space, and what do we integrate within It?

We’re going to reject what no longer serves our idea of Purpose. And we’re going to find ways to manifest even the grandest, most powerful, most taboo (in some cases) visions and goals with the methodical, detail-oriented energy of Virgo – as long as they align with your sense of Purpose. You may find unexpected resources and support from VIPs in your sector (Capricorn), provided you’ve been doing your homework and crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s (Virgo).

Remember that Virgo and Capricorn are both expressions of Earth energy, but in different modalities. Virgo is Mutable – it can shift, it can mould and adapt, it can pay attention to the detail. Capricorn is Cardinal – it seeks to make something pivotal, and transformative – something that points to a new direction (in contrast to a Fixed sign that seeks to preserve).

Ideas or plans that seeks to engage the Earth, and restructure our relationship to it (as we have been in a deeply unbalanced relationship with Her since the Industrial Revolution) will be well placed at this time.

The Spiritual Facilitators among us will see the Strength and Power of the Earth-Crone and find ways to express her energy in some form of facilitation or connection. Career opportunities linking different paths of service will open up for many at this time, particularly through those already in an established position of authority or power.

Drop the ego, and accept a hand from a higher-up. For those who are already ‘established’ you may want to reach out to those who are still ‘on their way’.

Enjoy this powerful, transformative, pulse of energy. Resist the temptation to waste it on the unfruitful act of being judgmental, or seeking to control another.

Blessings and Love to All,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image Information: “Tamme-Lauri tamm suvepäeval” by Abrget47j – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tamme-Lauri_tamm_suvepäeval.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Tamme-Lauri_tamm_suvepäeval.jpg [The oldest tree in Estonia]

THE LAST SUPERMOON OF THE YEAR: SEPTEMBER 9TH (PART 1)

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Blessings to all

I’ve started to feel the energies of the Pisces Full Moon coming up on September 9th – this is not unusual as it is a SuperMoon (intensity is felt +/- 7 days). Its energies will of course set the backdrop for our co-ordinated prayers, so it is a useful energy to also take into account.

Pisces’ energies are linked with the astrological 12th house. They speak of endings, termination, culmination, and represent the completion of a cycle – before we start again with Aries.

The 12th house, linked with Pisces and the planet Neptune, is also connected with suffering, sacrifice, martyrdom, issues with psychic boundaries (that can manifest in attitudes of narcissism, codependency), the dissolution of form (which when interpreted ‘negatively’ can be read as an invitation to ‘losing the self’ often through substance abuse of some kind). Pisces in excess has also be linked with attempts at self-harm, or even self-termination.

(Don’t be scared, these are just some of the more …. harsher forms of its manifestation – not everyone will want to manifest the energy in this way, but if you do have tendencies – make sure your support group is close at hand – focus on self-nurture as much as possible).

In its more ‘positive’ manifestations, Pisces is linked with the energy of Christ Consciousness. It is that ability to truly sacrifice the self (not from Ego, but from Love). Too many perpetuate ego-serving behaviors in the same of loving sacrifice, so it’s really important to make the difference clear. It is that ability to ‘turn the other cheek’, to forgive, to heal, and ultimately to transcend.

The 12th house is also associated with secrets, and energetic portals or vibrations which ‘you just can’t put your finger on’. It is linked with the otherworldly. Shaman/kas and those that take Spiritual Journeys will be feeling the pull to traverse the worlds at this time.

It is also a deeply karmic house, associated with linkages from the past that are not immediately obvious – if there was a guiding principle to Pisces – it would be obscurity, or that which is not obvious…. If karmic connections re-enter your life at this time, it is very likely that they do so because you are being given the opportunity to heal, transcend and release yourself from certain karmic patterns.

Note that this Full Moon will also feature the Moon conjunct Chiron in Pisces. Chiron is the Soul Healer, or the Soul’s Wound. There is going to be an intense emphasis on the notion of ‘transcendence through suffering’, or ‘learning from the pain/wounding’.

I’ll write more about this Full Moon in the Days to come. But I wanted to give you a heads up as this vibration has been making itself very very known to me at this time. We’re going to be collectively re-membering ‘the past’ and being called to make our peace with it.

Perfect for the energy-grounding/anchoring work we plan to do on the 13th.

Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1465668297037231/?fref=ts

Blessings to All,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image Information: “Fra Angelico 053” by Fra Angelico (circa 1395–1455) – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fra_Angelico_053.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Fra_Angelico_053.jpg

 
 

 

The Face of Justice: A Poem on Loving Detachment and Living as Pure Spirit in a Material World

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‘The Face of Justice’

The Face of Justice is neither kind,
Nor warm nor compassionate.
She has no rage, no passion,
Only the cool air of detachment.

Some call her harsh,
An alien being that knows no attachment,
In the final moment her blade severs through the cord,
There is a deafening silence.

No Joy, No Victory, No Grief, No Trauma,
An abstraction slicing through the messy world,
As metal meets the flesh, as mind meets the cord,
The deed is done, the scales rebalanced,
The world begins to stir awake.

Neither numb nor dead to her emotions,
She finally reveals her face,
Her one true form,
Her reason for being…

She is Love.

~ Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

http://www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

 

Image: ‘Goddess of Democracy’ on Wikipedia. The original sculpture (this is a reproduction) was used as a symbol during the Tienanmen Square protests in 1989. The original statue stood for only 5 days until it was felled by the Army. On another note … I intend to write an academic piece on this fascinating symbol and its powerful role in energizing a political movement. “Goddess of Democracy at UBC” by Original uploader was Dr.kwan at en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Goddess_of_Democracy_at_UBC.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Goddess_of_Democracy_at_UBC.jpg

THE ENERGIES OF NOW: DEATH, LIFE AND THE BABY BIRD FACING THE NEW WORLD

Savannah_Sparrow,_Passerculus_sandwichensis,_nestlings_baby_birds_and_eggs_with_much_larger_Brown-headed_cowbird,_Molothrus_ater_nestling_AB_Canada_(2)

All around me, and though the stories I hear from ones close to me – we are experiencing a collective ‘Death’.

Not the kind of Death where you leave your physical form necessarily. But the clear sign that something has ended in your journey. And something new is about to begin.

I am humbled by the sharings of friends and family, and for the signs shown in my life which help me see this now. Death is upon us, and it is a good thing. It has been for some time now.

For we are, by the thousands, letting go of old ways of thinking, feeling, behaving and expecting. We’re transforming our perceptions of the world and leaving the old one behind.

As the pioneers, the path-makers, the path-breakers, the anchors of a New Vibration (that is, beautifully and powerfully Ancient).

It seems that so many have begun to explore uncharted territories. And for many of us, the rate of this last shift has been completely ‘out of the blue’. So rapid, so transformative – and one that blindsided so many, catching us off guard.

So don’t worry if you’re feeling tearful, vulnerable, or even oddly detached … or just somehow different. It’s something that everyone is facing and experiencing, in their own way. A Unique experience for each, but one that resonates, in some fundamental way, with Many, if not All.

I feel as though we are now recognizing the Sacrifices that we have made in our lives and the Sacrifices that others have made for us so we may be Here, Now.

And the Journey has just Begun.

We look at our husks, at our discarded forms, at the Old Selves we used to inhabit. Almost unrecognizable. As though, in a strange way you’re viewing your own funeral – just like Huck Finn.

I feel as though we died, so many times, over and over again …. Our ashes went scattered into the wind. And somewhere beneath an ancient oak, a beautiful, perfect egg appeared in its place.

A tiny Beak now pokes through the shell and marvels at its first Glimpse of a New World….

We’ve finally made it.

Blessings to All,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image Information: Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis, nestlings baby birds and eggs with much larger Brown-headed cowbird, Molothrus ater nestling AB Canada (2).jpg – By Kati Fleming (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Savannah_Sparrow,_Passerculus_sandwichensis,_nestlings_baby_birds_and_eggs_with_much_larger_Brown-headed_cowbird,_Molothrus_ater_nestling_AB_Canada_(2).jpg

— with Ashoka Mohannan.

A Love a Letter To My Sister Who Could Have Never Been. *And To My Many Beloved Sisters.

A powerfully moving piece, written by a dear friend. It brought tears to my eyes.

wemarriage's Blog | Meanderings Through Life

Sometime in the fall of 1989 I was set to have a routine laparoscopy for the endometriosis that had plagued me since puberty. What should have been a one hour day surgery became a five hour full blown surgery to remove a very large growth. One that was larger than a softball, considerably smaller than a basketball.

Two days later with my mom and late husband in the room, something I experienced frequently in my night dreams was about to move from the liminal world and into the real world. The doctor said it was different than a dermoid tumor with usual hair skin and teeth. In this case it included some spine and organs but very little brain tissue. My mother stepped forward turned and smiled upon me in a way we never seemed to easily capture. “She is your twin. When I was pregnant there were two of…

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DETACHMENT AND THE ILLUSION OF FORM: RELEASING THE FEAR OF FEARLESSNESS – A NEW CHAPTER IN MY PATH BEGINS

Detachment

In the past two days, I have felt a complete shifting of tack, or a turn in direction I hadn’t anticipated heading into so quickly: Detachment. This isn’t to say a lack of love, or compassion (far from), but a single minded focus upon the tasks that I have to do at this time. And a rapidly transforming world-view.

It’s frightening, and challenging to feel the power of living in a state of loving detachment – or at the very least, beginning to.

The fear is having that sense of power – the state of total fearlessness: I can determine what I want. I no longer need to be held back by the expectations of others. I can actually cut through the cords, the unspoken expectations and the weight of assumptions that so many human relationships are based upon. So much I thought I knew about people seems a false construct. Those assumptions no longer make sense to bear.

The fears I had about whether I gave too much? or too little? Just disappeared. The desire to Serve The She That is Me that is in Us All – the Dark Goddess in the Macrocosm and the Microcosm – has only intensified.

I feel as though I can face anything and have no reason to fear any longer. I am ready to begin my work.

Who knew that so much of my identity as I understood it before was held back due to a profound fear of being fearless?

And how, my evolution has begun to unfold once that fear of fearlessness was released.

I’ve spoken about the fear – but here comes the challenge:

The challenge is embodying detachment in a way that does not remove you from the core of your humanity, vulnerability and empathy. That does not remove you from alignment with a Truer Power or a Path. That does not simply legitimate the dictates of tyrannical ego bent upon forcing its will without regard for others. There are those who mask acts of cruelty, abandonment and neglect through the abuse of the energy of ’emotional detachment’ – and sometimes they wear the garb of ‘the spiritual teacher’.

So it’s really important to be able to tell the two apart – is this Spirit’s or the Ego’s understanding of ‘Detachment’?

Detachment is often confused with emotional disassociation and ‘being aloof’ – the two are very different things. For me, spiritual and emotional detachment is meaningless without retaining the ability to feel, to have compassion, to know Love.

Detachment is not an invitation to Apathy, Arrogance or Alienation (of Self or Others). It’s a strange place, and an experience or state of mind that I am ‘re-membering’. As one who has been a High Priestess in previous lives, this was/is my ‘natural state’ – it is familiar to my Soul, but my Ego is still taking it all in.

The world looks different. People look different. My view of relationships are wholly altered. All that is not Truth, simply has to go. All that is Real I am allowed to keep in my life.

On the one hand, this state of mind has only led me to greater compassion and love for the people in my life. There is an acceptance of things that I would have once hated, knowing that they do not affect my awareness of self, or identity in any way. So many fears I’ve had surrounding my path have just vanished.

But at the same there, there is also a commitment to voicing out the elephant in the room – for issues that I cannot simply be silent over. The things that really need me to do my job and speak out for.

Overall , this awakening has made me more committed to my path and more insistent on the idea that all Paths are to be respected. That ultimately, as we reach the Mountaintop (no matter the road we take), we Ultimately realize that there was never a Path, or a Mountain in the first place.

An acceptance of the need for form, and the ultimate nature of formlessness in one moment.

I realized all this yesterday at the movies. I went to see ‘Lucy’ with my parents (very synchronistic, if you’ve seen the film). And _before_ the film had a chance to start. BOOM! came this profound realization that …

Something has changed within me.

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
4:07 pm, 31st August 2014
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image information – Tara_lithograph.jpg – By Chore Bagan Art Studio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Why I Love the Dark Goddess: An Invitation to Self-Reflection and Dialogue

 

In this video, I pose a few questions at the start to get the ball rolling – and share some of my personal experiences along the way. So many of us are awakening now, as we are following paths which call us to an understanding of femininity, motherhood and womanhood that defies conventional understandings. As we go on this path – asking ourselves the basics of Why? How? Where? can take us a long way in understanding what we are embodying, and how to carry that as we move through the world. There are so many misconceptions surrounding the Dark Feminine (e.g. witches are bad or evil, women are inferior, it’s all negativity, etc.), deeply embedded into the collective psyche. So it’s important to think about how we deal with these challenges, and in so doing, embody the essence of this Path – which is to me, a commitment to truth and a way of life that goes beyond rituals or forms. This is an invitation to engage in self-reflection and dialogue. Please comment with your responses, if so inclined.

Just so I am clear – whilst I speak of the experience of women, the themes that I address will also be ones familiar to men honoring the Feminine principle, particularly if they do not obey the heteronormative norm (e.g. alternate sexualities, not being a ‘manly’ man, etc.). The same applies for those with a trans-identity, breaking out of societal expectations.

Vanakam, Namaste and Blessings to Everyone Across The Globe,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
http://www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com