The Dark Goddess… The Wild Woman… More and more of us are guided to these archetypes and energies, with each passing day. But what do they tell us about our Spiritual Paths in life? What do they actually mean in daily practice?
I’m going to do my best to answer this question through an exploration of Goddess Kali (arguably the most iconic Dark Mother/Primordial Wild Woman in this Age). We’ll be looking at the way She is described in scripture, how She is popularly represented and ways to embody Her energy in day-to-day life.
Goddess Kali is often shown with blood dripping from Her fangs, hair loose, mostly nude, standing with 8 arms (some which hold weapons, others which hold blessings) with one foot on Her consort (Lord Shiva’s) chest.
In certain Hindu traditions, She is kept outside of or at the margins of temples as Her energy is so fierce, raw and primordial. Similarly, keeping her statues or images in the home are frowned upon in some Hindu homes. Naming one’s daughters after Kali/Bhairavi (in that rawer form) is also taboo. (Thankfully my mum didn’t know what it meant in this sense when she named me!)
But now, with so much interest in Awakening the Power of the Divine Feminine, men and women are beginning to reclaim the ferocity of Kali-Ma, breaking through the taboos that surround Her.
Let’s face it. She’s a sight to behold! Badass, in fact.
Hence, the existence of a blonde-haired, blue skinned Kali-Barbie prototype, and celebrities like Heidi Klum dressing up as Kali for Halloween (not that I have a problem with the latter). And of course – the beautiful, powerful, iconic projection of Ma-Kali’s face unto the Empire State Building in New York!
In the heat of the hype surrounding this sexy, ferocious, primordial pre-Bhramanic deity from ancient India, I see many distortions and exclusions which render this Goddess a pale echo of Her true form, energy and significance.
‘I’ve got my Kali on’ … this picture fills me with ‘Kali energy’ …. I see Her invoked in daily conversation, and often exclusively to describe a state of ‘anger’ or ‘rage’, or even of intense dislike. Whilst rage is certainly one aspect of Her – it’s a very, very small slice of the picture.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad my favourite Goddess is dancing Her Tandava (Cosmic Dance) on the World’s Stage to a steadily growing global audience – I’m glad that people are beginning to see Her in their daily lives – but there’s just so much more to Her than the stereotype of ‘the Avenging Feminine’.
Which brings me back to my initial question – what do these archetypes really mean? And how do we weave them into our daily lives?
When we look at the Devi Mahatyam (an early Hindu text), for instance, we see an array of Das Mahavidya (Ten Mahavidyas, or Wisdom Goddesses) and each make up the whole that is Kali.
We’ve got Kali Herself, Tara (the Compassionate), Chinnamasta (the Epitome of Ego-Death and Surrender), Dhumavati (the Widowed Crone), Bhagalamukhi (She who Hypnotizes, Mesmerizes and Smites), Bhuvaneswari (the Cosmos Herself), Bhairavi (The Terrifying One, Destroyer of all Obstacles), Kamala (She who grants Prosperity), Matangi (She who is ‘Polluted’, Goddess of the Forests) and TripuraSundari (The Maiden who rules the Three Worlds).
There’s a lot more to each goddess – but this is just to give you an idea of the complexity of Kali – and the total spectrum of Divine Femininity that She represents. The Just Protector, The Compassionate Mother, The Detached Crone, The Beautiful Maiden, The Devoted Wife (as Parvati), and more besides – all rolled up into one Super-duper Celestial package (or more accurately, a Vibration of a particular state of Consciousness).
In other words – All this is Kali. And She is All. Some traditions even equate Her energy interchangeably with Lord Krishna. She’s pretty much … Infinity and Nothingness in a Female Form.
In other words, looking at the Totality of what She represents, there’s very little which isn’t Maha-Kali!
But what does that mean for those of us who seek to embody her Wildness? Her Power? Her Love? Her Presence?
Personally, I see it as a call to begin witnessing Her energy through every moment of our lives…
When we hold our children and nurture our families,
When we fight for justice and walk away alone, bleeding but with our heads held up high,
When we learn the secrets of Life, the Universe, and Ourselves,
When we make love,
When we are love,
When we simply breathe,
When we simply be
… Every time you look in the mirror, there She is … watch out for that cheeky wink and knowing smile…
Bringing ‘Kali Consciousness’ into daily life does not require a ritual, a ceremony, a mantra, a holy book or instrument of prayer – all it requires is You!
Live from your Heart, learn that things come and go – as do people.
Love as fiercely as you can knowing that tomorrow may wash away the hopes of today. And love anyway.
Be unafraid to reveal that Which You Are, for you cannot be contained. Just as She cannot be.
And as you stand and step into your own Power, in acceptance of its Totality – of Light, Shadow, Rage, Compassion, Joy, Sorrow – therein lies a precious gift.
Blessings to All as you embark on your Journey of Fierce Love, Non-Judgment and Transcendental Detachment …
Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD :
Priestess, Astrologer, Motivational Speaker & Founder of The Dark Mother’s Children ; Honoring The Dark Mother: A Temple-Space
Note: I first wrote this article for my friend Morgan Potts and her Moonblush Blog in November 2014. It has been reprinted here with her permission.
Image: Goddesses – Kali Maa.jpg; By Chobist (Flickr: Goddesses – Kali Maa) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Text & Content © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2014. All rights reserved.
My fiancée was sharing my interview on Priestessing, Politics and the Indian Parliament with his colleagues in India yesterday. Suddenly, he realized that some (if not all of them) might see me as delusional, a madwoman or a fake would-be guru (or a combination thereof).
Part of me felt sad, and the other part smiled (I’ll explain why).
For you see – despite being the land of a million goddesses, and the origins of some of the greatest spiritual philosophies in the world, Indian culture at the day-to-day level is strangely disconnected from these ideals – either through a focus upon the ritual form (and not necessarily the spiritual), or through the cynical, hardened eyes of rationalism. There are of course, exceptions, but that tends to be a fair generalization.
Despite Indian philosophical-scriptural exposition on ideas such as – the sanctity of woman and the Feminine Principle, or the idea that we walk as Divine Beings, often unaware of our spiritual inheritance – these are ideas that are disconnected from everyday culture there. Yet such principles are put forward as emblems of Indian heritage and culture, particularly when idealized and interpreted through different cultural perspectives.
Whilst I get the basis for such a reaction to my work and presence, I honestly do not see it as my problem. I thought about what I would feel if someone levied those views to my face – and the answer was — well.. not very much at all..
The baggage, the judgment, the condescension – that’s an issue with the one choosing to perceive my path in a certain way. And remember – perceptions (mine/yours/our) are never accurate reflections of reality (whatever that is).
And I’ve experienced that in mild – and – extreme ways during my pilgrimages in India and Nepal. Even when viewed with suspicion, distrust, ridicule, and at times being bullied by the people there – I have always found that the temples themselves have welcomed me in ways that seem miraculous to others, especially by those who live there.
Despite the harsh challenges, I’ve never allowed that to stop me doing what I’m doing. It’s certainly not a pleasurable experience or one that I consider myself some great martyr for enduring. I see it as part of the work that needs to be done to transmute a particularly rigid manifestation of societal consciousness (the super-ego construct). Just gotta keep on walking.
It’s a choice I made, that I rarely even think about it, in all honesty.
The sadness I do feel about it – and that too seems to be going – is when I consider the extent of spiritual disconnection between the people, the land and its spiritual essence. Just about every saint I adore in the Indian context (and other parts of the world) has been seen as mad, delusional, or fraudulent. And they are better appreciated posthumously, long after their death when society gradually begins to catch up with the vibration these powerful spiritual-in-flesh-vessels bore.
And here’s where the smile comes in, as soon as I thought that through and wrote a reply to my fiancée, I saw this on FB (It’s about a saint I love, whose path comes closest to the way I walk with Kali-Ma – Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa):
“People of his times labeled Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa as a madman. With their limited mind and prejudices, some creatures thought they had a license to judge him. The Paramahamsa was indeed mad but mad for and of the love of Divinity. He was committed to Mata Kali, the All-embracing Mother. He reached the state of perfection in the bhakti path not because of this belief or that faith. Even parrots have faith in their wings, fly wherever they believe seeds and nuts can be found. We wish we had one infinitesimal part of the Parmahamsa’s bhakti. Perfection comes through unconditional love and disinterested performance of action. If you are expecting anything – name and glory, badge and status from your karma, go join the boy-scouts or the marines for now but seek Grace at the earliest convenience. Jai Mata Kali.” ~ Yogi Ananda Saraswathi
**Now if that’s not a sign that the Universe has my back.. I really don’t know what is.
Chin up, eyes forward… and away we go!
PS – The interview in question that started all this! 🙂
The Aquarian Moon sextiles Uranus (18 Aries), and the both make inconjuncts to Black Moon Lilith (18 Virgo). Essentially, the energy of breakthrough, building up with a powerfully supportive sextile between the Moon and Uranus. Change is afoot, and that is a good thing. We are transforming the way we see ourselves, and the level of consciousness we attribute to the Self. The Aquarian Moon bridges the intellect and deep emotions to help us see how these transformations, in turn, make us revisit our deeply-cherish ideals and utopian visions of the collective, and out roles in them. These bodies point towards Black Moon Lilith in Virgo – the emphasis here is to find a practical way of manifesting and anchoring these insights into a physical form, or pathway of service. Women, and Men who cherish the Feminine, in particular, may be heavily projected upon as they seek to do so. Wound surrounding the ability to support the self, and others may come up now as can issues surrounding the idea of ‘subservience’ (a distortion of the Virgo archetype).
Bear in Mind that Black Moon Lilith represents the energy of the Dark Goddess, in her Crone form. This is a powerful energy of breakthrough for those of you who work with her in that spiritual paradigm.
It’s a great energy for breaking through the the old, and finding ways to manifest a life that is in alignment with your new understanding of self, and the ideals that underpin the self.
(Really looking forward to seeing how this plays out in my session, starting in a few minutes’ time – there’s space for another if you’d like to work with me – and this energy – xxx)
Blessings to all,
Image/Text : © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved.
We’re staring at the Big Void in ourselves, an aftermath of the colossal release precipitated by the Uranus/Pluto final square. Much that was no longer required was let go of, the garbage atop pure the black, soil of the Soul’s foundations finally discarded and laid bare.
We then set the seeds of a new beginning in the cleansed spaces of our being with the Total Solar Eclipse, and then the Equinox.
We celebrated that release of the old and seeding of the new with the fire, heat, passion and the intensity of pure transformation. The energies building now couldn’t be more of a contrast. At first we Danced with the Sun and its Fires, and now – we are called to Sit with the Dark Mysteries of the Moon.
There is a definite sense of emptiness – hollowness (and not in a bad way), some might call it a release, freedom, or going back to Nothingness. We’re looking at the Void where once a part of us resided. We begin to see the foundations, the soil we have cleared through years of intense transformation.
In so doing, many of us are actually beginning to see ourselves for the first time, in a long, long, time. Some of us need the time to grieve, to acknowledge, to process, to fully realize the impact of such release.
It feels silent, dark, and still. A place of rest and nurture as we honor the passage of what was, as we make space for what will be – as the seeds we planted, deep beneath the soil, mature in their own time.
I suspect it is a feeling that some of us quickly tuned into, whilst others will feel this way more so as we approach the Lunar Eclipse.
I was searching for the right metaphor to describe this experience when my friend Archana tagged me in a post of hers speaking of the Phoenix and its cycles. Talk about synchronicity, and thank you, my friend. Here’s how I see the metaphor fitting in with current energies:
We blossomed in the fires of the Phoenix and saw our own beauty, strength and purity till it reached an epic crescendo of light, colour and flame, building since the start of the Uranus-Pluto cycle in 2012. We glowed deeply and burnt fiercely at the Heart of the Self, with so much purity and love that our old ways and forms of being had to give way. What a celebration! What intensity and activity! What power and beauty!
And in an flash of lightning and fire, The Phoenix was gone.
All that remained was Ash.
And a seed, an egg of a new Self, a new Cycle buried under the layers of grey sediment.
We now rest. We observe. We wait in the liminal space between death and rebirth.
We enter the realm of the Dark Goddess and her counsel, as she pulls us into her Veil of Mystery. Many have already begun to feel her Call as she prepares us for the Lunar Eclipse of April 4/5, 2015.
Rest now, my friends – for there is work to be done 🙂
Many Blessings and Much Love to All,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD
P. S. – The Lunar Eclipse in Libra is strongly connected to the energies of Black Moon Lilith at this time (astro-info on that herehttp://wp.me/p4OUNS-pf )
Text & Image ‘Burnt to Ash – What Next?’ © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015
The Goddess Asteroid Vesta represents the Archetype of the Priestess. She calls us to find a path of faith, commitment, devotion, dedication – and equally of sacrifice – and – rejuvenation.
Conjunct the Galactic Center, Vesta calls us to learn from the Great/Grand Central Sun and the Black Hole at the Center of the Universe. We are called to balance the Polarities of Light and Dark – and to see the Healing and Wisdom within both.
She asks us to awaken to the Wisdom and Heritage of the Priestess.
Black Moon Lilith in Virgo reinforces the same energy – Here we are challenged to stand up and determine our own Sexuality, and Material Paths of Service.
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
DISSOLUTION: MAYA UNMASKED
Dissolve, Dis-illusion, Dis-assemble,
The words of fear and decay,
Yet without death never shall we see,
The Soul that Body Sheaths.
The Secrets that Matter Keeps
The Truth that is Concealed,
In Form, In Structure,
Waiting for The Big Reveal.
The Moon, the Sun, the Stars align so
My Goddesses of the Sky, of Serpent and The Old,
Ajima-Harati-Dhumavati-Kali they stand with Strength Untold,
Watching over me as I crumble,
My ego tumbles,
My desires shatter into dust,
As the Pisces Moon’s Secrets Unfold.
Karma Ceases, Ties Dissolve,
Ownership is Renounced,
Through Pain a new Freedom,
A New Vision, A New Birth,
Through Death, Decay, Formlessness,
In the Watery Womb of Chaos and Surrender,
A Pathway is Born.
And The Dark Goddess Smiles.
She Says: Now, My Child.
Stripped of your Certainty
You Stand Before me … Naked
Now, My Child,
For Your Journey has only Just Begun.
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
At this time, honor those parts of yourself cast into Shadow. Too often we believe that all that is Dark is Evil, and forget that our Shadow can simply be parts of ourselves we have no yet accepted – in this case – the (Feminine) Divinity in All Beings, and the Power She Wields.This is a time for Her to Rise, and I hope many of you will heed the call to Dance, Dream, and Embody this aspect of Sacred Energy as her influence only intensifies in the skies.Rising Woman, Rising Man, You cannot be stopped unless you choose to be at this Time. My Fire spreads through you and around you, Giving Life, Death and Birth to this World. I can no longer be Hidden.
That is Her Message, through me, to you.
For those of you would like to hear more of my perspective on The Dark Mother, here is a link to a 1-hour radio interview aired on Get on the Grid With Chessie Roberts Radio Show. Link: http://intentionradio.com/2014/06/shining-a-light-on-the-truth-about-the-dark-mother-of-the-goddess-path/
For those of you would like to join a community devoted to honoring Her in this form, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkMothersChildren on Facebook.
A Virtual Shrine to Honor The Dark Mother: http://nshrine.com/shrine/Dark_Mother
Image Information: “Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple – Hindu goddesses” by Matthias Rosenkranz – originally posted to Flickr as Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sri_Veeramakaliamman_Temple_-_Hindu_goddesses.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Sri_Veeramakaliamman_Temple_-_Hindu_goddesses.jpg