There is a tremendous difference between embodying the Goddess in all that you are-and-do, and in setting yourself up on a new Goddess-pedestal for others to come and worship you on. The former celebrates life, Spirit, and that personal synergetistic magic you co-create with the Cosmos. The latter, alas, panders to the ego and creates the same hierarchical division that so many of us within the Goddess movement abhor in the patriarchy.
I notice more and more that the less I hold onto as an ‘I’ or ‘Ego-Self’, the freer I am to simply Exist. Interestingly, the more so I give up particular identifications, expectations, and the need to be seen as Priestess / Goddess / Sacred Woman, etc. (which is part of the path for any facilitator – ego’s way of handling this journey till you can let it go) – – -the more I let go of all this, the more people I meet who honor the Sacred in me without having to see me as their superior.
And conversely, these tend to be the type of people in whom I can see that same movement of energy, and honor as friends and equals. That being said, there are days where the Doctor of Political Science bit, or the Priestess bit, or the Daughter-of-My-Ancestors bit, or the Astrologer bit, or the other aspects of me feel like they need to be more strongly asserted. And days where I just let them all go.
And that seems to be a more whole, centered-and-ever-shifting space for me to be in. Setting yourself up on a pedestal happens when the titles/powers/gifts you have or embody become the only, dominant way you can see yourself on your path. But it’s not the whole thing. Nor do I subscribe to the p.o.v. that complete absence is the way either. One extreme seems too full of its ego-self, and the other extreme seems hollow. Middle path, all the way .. yay …
We see these archetypes embedded within cultural folklore and deeply rooted, residual belief systems that human societies unconsciously drift towards, irrespective of how technological or ‘rational’ a civilization becomes.
In India, it is the wrath of a murdered virgin, her unappeased spirit that strikes the fear into local villagers. She is transformed into a grama devathai, deified as a local protectoress for her to ‘find rest’. She becomes the most powerful form of Virgin Goddess, who appears without the Womb (Karumaariamman).
In ancient Greece and Rome, is the the Vestal who successfully mounts an alternative to patriarchal systems of social organization and proprietorship. A collective of women who existed beyond the prescription of man, and in full cognizance of their sexual, ritual, devotional and spiritual dimensions.
In too many civilizational clichés to count, it is the sacrifice of the virgin, be it to the angry volcano or the raging mega-beast, that ultimately spares the lives of its citizens – for the virgin is seen to be the purest form of being, and at the same time, somehow expendable.
There are far too many cross-cutting, interweaving archetypes and stereotypes that run through these narratives to cover in a single article. But what is clear is that the Virgin is somehow associated with a superior sense of spiritual power or worth, in the eyes of those that seek to understand or appropriate her.
From whence does this power stem?
We look to narratives of parthenogenesis in mythology and religion to see it as a vessel through which the Virgin incubates, and births some form of life. It is the chamber in which, with or without the sexual act, Spirit enters the Flesh and Ideas attain their Physical Form.
It is the crucible in which alchemy of the most powerful sort occurs.
And so it is the most feared by a system of social organization that cannot seek to emulate it – Patriarchy.
What was once a sacred understanding of the gift of the Womb became a systemic attempt to control its workings, its engagements with the wider world and its ritual and spiritual significance. An all-out re-signification of the womb and its corpus of biological processes ensued.
Menstruation became taboo. The Sacred Blood that preceded the conception of life became Unclean. The period in which a woman could most acutely and sensitively listen to Her Spirit became a societal joke.
Female sexuality became undesirable, an invitation to to immorality and a general loss of reputation. The independence, self-sufficiency and sexuality of the Virgin was entirely supplanted with an ideology that equated virginity with celibacy, dependency and innocence.
We began elevating pregnancy and motherhood as the ideal state for a woman to attain, limiting her social and biological function to child-rearing. There are simply no ideals as such, for a woman is a woman is a woman. She need not have given birth, or even have been born into a female body in this day and age to be one.
The women’s mysteries themselves were lost for millenia.
Now, with the resurgence of Goddess-centered spirituality we see far more opportunities for men and women to once more cherish the life-giving, idea-birthing, creative and spiritual manifestation vessel that is the womb.
We begin to realize that, for beings that are not born as female or who do not identify as such, there is in fact, an energetic Womb Center through which we can access our own pathways to creative manifestation.
We begin to realize dimensions of humanity lost through the ages as the everyday, human woman was somehow too common, too impure to understand the magic in her own womb, as opposed to her Goddess counterparts.
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 …
Sometimes a Priestess finds herself in welcome company, and at other times she is the outcast, the ridiculed, the exiled, the heretic. Some people find the idea of a ‘Priestess’, ‘Goddess’ and the ‘Divine Feminine’ off-putting. Some minds open, and others close when they encounter these terms and the energies they represent.
Priestessing is an unusual vocation by today’s standards, and not everyone is going to get it or respect it, or need to. It’s not an easy road. It’s not particularly glamorous. It just is what it is.
God/dess knows it’s good to realize you’re not alone in the Journey. That there are others who feel just as you do. Who share the same faith, the same fears and who just ‘get it’.
Other priestesses have begun to reach out to me in response to my article called ‘Priestess is a Verb, Not a Title’ ( http://wp.me/p4OUNS-4c ). It moves me to see the time and effort that they have taken to write to me and narrate (in part) stories of their journeys. It is a good energy of ‘coming together’, of reunion in many ways – and it is what prompted this exercise of reflection you now read.
There are more of us than we realize, walking on kindred paths and paving a way forward for spiritual women to be seen as what they are, once more.
But what does all of this entail?
In other words – What makes a Priestess?
Walking on this path requires you on the one hand to completely commit yourself to something you consider sacred. On the other hand, you are constantly called to check-in with yourself, with that deep connection to Source/Spirit that moves you, with your development and how attached you are to a certain idea of Truth, a path, a practice, and so on.
On the one hand we act with utter faith, and on the other, we constantly feel into it deeper – allowing it to change, evolve and transform if need be.
At the very least, that is what I am called to do – and it keeps me from falling into stagnation and complacency – which is very different from a state of receptive stillness.
It makes the experience of Being a Priestess a very conscious one. Part of you is constantly attuned to this state of devotion and reflection on that path of devotion. It’s not a switch you can turn on or off, not a vocation that obeys the 9-5 schedule and has the weekends off. It’s 24/7.
The ‘reward’ (if you can call it that) you get by being a Priestess can’t really be measured in material terms. If the goal was to earn money, gain prestige and status, make friends, get your ego stroked / validated, etc. there are a lot of other, easier options that would give you that kind of ‘job satisfaction’.
Moreover, there are energetic and karmic consequences for Priestesses (and Spiritual Facilitators in general) who use their role primarily to fulfill their ego’s desires. That applies to us all, but more so for those who speak the language of Spirit.
Perhaps the real reward you get is the simple recognition that you are in fact, Honoring Yourself. A recognition, an acknowledgement that comes from within.
You express and embody that Sacred Truth that resonates with your Soul. And in so doing, you Honor the Divinity within you – which You are.
Perhaps you do that in a public role, perhaps it’s private – for your eyes only … either way – you’re just being you – that is a gift in itself.
Bear in mind that this is my take on The Path. Your understanding may be different, and that is perfectly fine. Stick to what resonates. Whilst I speak of Priestesses, know that I speak of an energetic archetype, not limited to a single gender.
This is a massive awakening, with multiple geographic epicenters arising in tandem. Political changes in Africa and the rising of female leadership, the energizing of public discourse on sexual attitudes and the ‘causal’ attitudes of rape in India, women’s voices emerging from the Middle East – point to this being something that is happening across the globe. Clearly, the awakening is spreading like wildfire in the West, and that is something to be cherished and celebrated in its own right – but that does not make the West it’s epicenter.
On more than one site, I have seen casual references to how this Re-Awakening is a ‘Western’ (read: Caucasian or North American/European) phenomenon and that women from those regions will lead the way for others. When I hear or read about how the West will re-ignite the Goddess movement, I feel dismayed and to me history begins to echo once more.
I immediately recall the patronizing discourse of ‘educating the natives’ that arose with the earliest proselytizing attempts in Africa and Asia. I recall how the modus operandi of repressive, colonial regimes (in India for example) was to alleviate the suffering of the oppressed women there, who needed freeing from the shackles of their own religions and customs. That led to the codification of a multiplicity of Indian traditions, and in one single blow outlawed certain controversial customs, but also de-legitimized the many practices of peoples of the so-called ‘lower’ castes who had far more fluid attitudes towards marriage and sexuality. (A step backwards, you could say). Many other examples from the history of colonialism and the ideological machine that legitimated it provide so many examples of the same.
When we look to history, we see that any teleological (different from theological) explanation or description given to mass movements has almost inevitably reflected entrenched power hierarchies. In the narrative that I see arising, the West is (once again) the center of the globe – this time with its women, rather than its men, bringing Enlightenment for the Globe. And I find this a mistake that we can avoid, with some circumspection, critical thought and consideration.
Many of the compassionate, awakening, men and women I have on my site are Caucasian, and some of the most evolved spiritual individuals and teachers I know are Caucasian. So I have no issues there, no reason to argue why Western men and women cannot or should not be a part of this movement. What I find problematic is when a particular racial and/or geographic group begin to be uncritically hailed as ‘leaders’ for others to follow.
When we make such categories, when we draw the spiritual geography of this Earth with a particular location of the globe as its center, we make the same kinds of boundaries, hierarchies and power relations which so many of us on the Goddess Path rejected so heavily when it appeared through the institution of patriarchy. Let us avoid making the same judgments when so many of us seek equality and a leveling of the playing field.
We are at a critical time now where our movement has begun to amass enough energy that it stands at the brink of divergence, fragmentation, consolidation – or some other process. We get to choose to avoid the errors of the past, we get to choose to not have to re-learn the lessons of history – just as so many of us are beginning to see the need for herstory or even, ourstory.
For some who might think this to be a ‘trivial’ point, it is important to bear in mind that discourse – the way we talk about things – reflects, very powerfully, the way we think about things. When we privilege any one race or region as being the focus, we (whether we do so consciously, or unconsciously) relegate other centers to a peripheral focus. This was the thrust of the ideological machine used to justify colonialism and bringing ‘God to the natives’. This is the reason why the World Map we all know makes Africa smaller than it is and exaggerates the size of the United Kingdom.
And on top of everything else – for those you who integrate an understanding of the Earth’s kundalini (The Serpent of Light) and its rising in December 2012, the epicenter of that awakening took place in the Andean Mountains of Peru. Ironically, it is in ‘the West’, but not part of what most people mean when they use that term. Their teachings are sifting further and further into collective consciousness, but few ever consider this sacred site to be the ‘center’ of the awakening – and frankly, one does not have to!
This is a movement, as I understand it, for all. For men and women from North, South, East, West. It is a moment where we get to equalize. Where we get to right the wrongs of the past, or at the very least, to create a new balance that celebrates plural perspectives and provides multiple centers.
Unfortunately – and feel free to disagree with this if this is not your perspective, as a Priestess of Colour and a scholar of politics and history, I find that a lot of Western discourse and attitudes towards the spiritual traditions that have found center-stage in the ‘New Age’ movement are far too reminiscent of the ideology and attitudes of Orientalist scholars studying the ‘exotic’ other. So many traditions are being appropriated and given new life, which is a wonderful thing, but they are being done so in ways that do not always look at the reality of the people who live in the contemporary regions those spiritual teachings emanate from.
The spiritual teachings that so much of the New Age subscribes to very often co-exist paradoxically with oppressive, unequal realities for women in other parts of the globe. The beauty of Goddesses and the words that describe them in scripture fly across Facebook walls, but with few reflections on how a land that produced such prose can still kill its daughters and view them as burdens. Very often, these traditions become romanticized in themselves, and the critical question of – Well, why didn’t it work before? Why didn’t it empower the women of the land to rise? is completely missed.
And to me, that is a critical question, that is a key opportunity for us to engage with traditions of the past and identify new pathways for change. We may need to revisit or revamp these traditions that have on the one hand elevated female metaphysical energies, but barred its daughters from real positions of power – be it in politics, or even in the right to hold spiritual office … or even to enter a temple during their menstrual period, if only to open their Heart to The Divine. Whilst honoring traditions are important, idealizing them to the point that the key questions – of what didn’t work? what needs reworking? – needs to be equally addressed. And to this effect, the local knowledge and awakening that is happening concurrently in different global epicenters needs to be honored, integrated and seen as a valuable part of the Goddess Movement.
In the name of respecting ‘ancient traditions of the East/South’, let us not uncritically mouth the same ideology that somehow kept the women of those lands suppressed/oppressed.
Let me give you a concrete example: I have seen a rise in artistic and photographic imagery of the Goddess Kali/Durga as a Caucasian woman. (nothing wrong with that). But as a movement, little consideration is given to the message that imparts to women (from India) who are considered to be too ‘low’ to ever think of themselves as Goddesses. Have you ever seen a Laxmi with Dark Skin? Or one that wasn’t flawless? Ironically, at an anti-rape protest event that I participated in, I saw Indian women carrying placards that said that ‘we don’t need to be goddesses, just treat us as people’. Coming from the land of a million goddesses, this is a powerful statement.
What do we do with those messages? And why are they valued less, or sub-consciously perhaps, integrated less in the mainstream of this movement? We have so much to learn from the fierce self-assertion in the West (in this example) and the desire to assert oneself/be counted outside of the context of religion as expressed by Indian women. But until we see both ‘ways of knowing’ as equal, each side is bound to repeat the painful mistakes of the other. ..Food for thought…
Daughters and Sons of the Mother, wherever you are, whatever the colour of your skin may be – now is the time to Rise. Together, we are all — at the Center.
Post & Image by: Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
Images: Compilation of Goddess and Earth images freely available on Wikipedia under the appropriate sharing license
Please do not use this image without permission, even in modified form
Whilst we embrace the cause of the Rising Feminine, it is important to note that the end-game is not one where you have two equally strong ‘teams’ polarized against one another. It is not to pit man against woman or God against Goddess.
It is ultimately, a Call for Balance.
I am a Priestess and I champion the cause of priestesses officiating over temples and rituals once more without fear, without prejudice, without discrimination – without the idea of filthiness associated with their bodies and their sex. That does not mean that I see women superior to men, or a Goddess superior to a God.
In me, I have a Goddess, and God. In me, I have the Divine. (I’m still in the process of remembering, and realizing it)
So do you. So do we all. So does every bit of creation, animate and inanimate.
In you, in me, in everything there is a God/Goddess/Formless Divine energy flowing through – so what use is there placing limitations on how it can or cannot be expressed?
I find it strange that those who claim their understanding of ‘God’ is ‘gender-neutral’ find it so threatening or uncomfortable when I or others use the term ‘Goddess’, or Priestess. (If it’s all really equal, then no conflict should arise… )
Ideally, there will come a day where both terms are so accepted and embraced by all, that no one will even bat an eyelid.
But that day is not here yet. We are, of course, all working towards it.
Yes, at the end of the day … It’s all Energy, and Dissolution anyway – but we have chosen to incarnate as Spirit-in-Flesh. And it seems sad when half of that Spirit is denied the expression or recognition of its intrinsic Divinity. The Feminine is repressed and challenged not only when she arises through the bodies of women, but also through men who choose alternative definitions of their masculinity-honoring-Femininity.
Till then, I remain focused upon a Spiritual Path that Honors the Formless Divine by ensuring that its Material Representations (Idols, Statues, Sacred Facilitators) are truly representative.
The paradox of recognizing the God/dess on an altar, and not in the flesh of a person is one I’ll address later.
In the skies right now, Vesta is part of a Grand Trine and a near-Grand Sextile, as I discussed Earlier. She is helping us to (re) birth a Goddess-friendly intuitive paradigm, along with Juno in Cancer and Neptune Retrograde in Pisces. Juno is the element and energy of Divine Feminine energy as a whole – we know her as Asherah, Sophia-Gaia, Shakti – and so on. Vesta is her Priestess, tending the Sacred Flame in the Self and Others. And Neptune Retrograde drives us to dig deeper and to look at the Truth in our own Spiritual Conceptions.
Vesta generally asks us to look into ourselves, our most initimate (often sexual, reproductive) wounds that block our sacred-creative energy and Connection with Life-Source. She tells us that the healing of these wounds will allow us to tap into the wealth of regenerative, spiritually nourishing energy once more. She tells us how to Light the Lamp in ourselves, yet Again… Glowing with the Energy of the Goddess. In Scorpio (where she is now at 7 degrees), these lessons are further emphasized and highlighted. The challenge here is to know how to give, and how much.
Vesta, at present, is conjunct the asteroid Eurydike – Eurydike was a mythological figure associated with death by serpent, and confinement in the Underworld. There are many ways to interpret her mythology, but it resonates strongly with the element of sacrifice in the name of love. Her husband, Orpheus, fails to retrieve her from the Underworld as he is not willing to have faith and disobeys the condition of her release from death – to not turn around as he walks out of the place. He turns to look, and *poof* she’s gone.
With Vesta conjunct Eurydike, priest/esses in service of the Awakening Divine Feminine will be especially challenged all around to globe to sacrifice something or another. The question is what, why, and how? Sometimes it may be a sexual partner, other times, it may be an intimate friendship that is no longer compatible with your path. It can even be an outmoded view, as painful as it is, that you cling on to and limit yourself with.
But something clearly has to go – Give it up, but know why you do so.
Vesta/Eurydike oppose Bienor, another asteroid, at 7 deg Taurus. Bienor has many interpretations, most of which center around strength, and some concept of integrity. In opposition to Scorpio’s sexuality, underworld affiliations, healing/regenerative ability and deep magical connections – Bienor is likely to question how you manifest these Scorpionic energies through your activities of priest/essing.
It is important to note that the inclusion of Bienor completes the Grand Sextile – it would trine Mercury in Virgo (which opposes Neptune Retrograde) and Pluto in Capricorn (which opposes Juno in Cancer). So the act of service-integrity-sacrifice in your spiritual vocation, calling or path leads to a powerful anchoring of Energies for Manifestation.
Bienor represents a position of power that can also house those who perceive themselves to be ‘maintaining the status quo’ (Taurus), and casting judgment, or creating resistance to your Scorpio-based activities. The Priest/ess, facing this judgment, must then choose to respond to it with integrity, rather than revenge, retaliation or a further cycle of judgment or blame.
Perhaps what we’re called now is to Sacrifice the sense of control that Scorpio so enjoys and to realize that this Path is not a comfortable, or an easy one. It is ancient, but is also deeply challenging. At times we are called not to hit back, when we are attacked. At times, we are called to smile, stay still in the line of fire.
Wholly ignoring the Ego, we are called to Burn, Burn with the Flames of Spirit. I would associate this energy with Joan of Arc, with the Witches of Salem, with the energy of the Condemned, and hunted Feminine Spiritual Facilitator – She (or He) that has embraced the Divine Feminine in a spiritual vocation of Priest/essing in Her Name.
Now all this doesn’t mean you’re supposed to throw yourselves into a literal fire or anything. That’s where Eurydike’s lesson comes in: Perhaps it’s letting go of a snide remark or judgmental attitude towards you or your path. Perhaps it’s releasing yourself from a bond where you can’t continue your path without facing daily attack or criticism. Perhaps it’s simply Aligning yourself with Spirit, and realizing that whatever challenges and vulnerability we might feel now is just part of our Collective Learning Curve as part of this Massive Awakening.
In whatever way this challenge arises, and it will – especially Jupiter (at 7 deg Leo, loosely conjunct Venus at 9 deg Leo) is squaring Vesta (7 deg Scorpio), we’re likely to face criticism or the heavy hand of the judgment by others.
Stand Tall as your Tend To Your Sacred Fires, Sisters and Brothers.
The above conversation (reproduced with permission) got me thinking about periods and what they can teach us. I find that my intuitive senses are heightened, and I have greater access to my own depths. I consider it a sacred time of month, and one which empowers me.
I didn’t always think of the period in this way. As an Indian woman, despite the radical self-definition my parents instilled in me, I still carried the burden of stigma associated with menstruation. And it was a time I associated with pain, rather than joy.
Where did it come from? My parents never shamed me about it. But TV and other cultural influences did. And it took a while to break out of that cycle and re-discover that sacred spiritual connection.
I am glad I met women who were bold enough to explore that ‘taboo’, and reclaim it for themselves – and they inspired me to do the same in my early 20s.
Eventually, as I listened more – the pain lessened. As I honored the impulses from my Womb, my Ovaries, my Sacral Chakra, my periods became more regular. And I began to enjoy them, and look forward to them.
My Womb began to Whisper in the Subtle yet Powerful language of Spirit.
What I’ve realized in reflection (from my own Indian cultural context) is this –
It becomes difficult to to consider the womb, and its monthly cycle of any value or spiritual significance when women are encouraged not to go to temples (or other sacred sites) when menstruating – as though the presence of sacred blood can anger the gods.
Mind you, this too in a culture that does not recognize the right of a woman to be a priestess in a temple – unless of course she is in her menopausal phase, or from a lower caste group serving her community.
In Nepal, for instance, women are simply not allowed to cook during their periods as their blood would then ‘pollute’ the food – despite no obvious contact between the two – in a land that paradoxically offers blood sacrifices of buffaloes and chickens to fierce female Goddesses.
So, If the womb and her cycles are seen as unclean, how can Woman see herself as the Vessel and Bearer of Spiritual Wisdom?
Which led me to ask …
When did the Divinity in Woman become separate from her Material Form?
When did we stop realizing the Goddess in ourselves, and instead, began to believe that spaces for creation existed only in temples, and not in ourselves?
I’m sure this isn’t just a ‘South Asian’ thing (nor is that the only way in which menstruation is seen in the region – the Shaktas and Tantrists have a different view) – but this refusal to see the Divine in the Human Womb, cuts across categories of identity such as: culture, region, religion, race, ethnicity, and so on.
As for me, I’m going to hold myself close at moontime, and listen to Her whispers, beckoning me from Within.