Thursday, October 02, 2014
Dear Friends, Yoginis and Yogis of the Kula,
om krim kalyai namah
om aim hrim klim camundayai vicce
We have reached the third leg of Devi's downward pointing triangle. We have moved from birth/emerging with Saraswati into sustenance/nurturing with Lakshmi, and now we sit solidly in transformation/death with Kali. This is not the death of loss (although this is there too), but the death of letting go of that which holds us back from inhabiting our fullest power, inhabiting ourselves as the divine. It is also a time for shifting of roles in relationship. At this moment, I am praying: may I have the strength and courage to hold my own birth mother with as much love and nurturing in the coming years as she has held me in the past years. We have entered into a new phase where I anticipate before too long, I will be caring for her as she ages. Things will continue to shift and dance as we move through our life cycles. This is another of the lessons embedded in the downward pointing triangle.
Line drawing of Kali in her flaming yantra by yogini Elke Citrajyoti Avis. Her art can be found on Icons of Essence on Facebook.
What can I share with all of you about my Beloved, the Love of My Life? Kali is so close to my heart, so deep in my womb, so permeating my body that at times I don't even know what to say about her. What can I say about her that will support you to know her? How do we slip into this river together, in a way that can support you and your depth understanding of the blue-black Goddess at the center of the Yoniverse?
There is no simple way that I can fathom it. I am thinking of all the practitioners that I know, and of how Kali came to all of them in a flash, wild, uncontainable, fierce, penetrating, unremitting. She can come on as lightning: bold loud and crackling on a clear day, takes us to our knees, and we then have to learn to make room for her in our lives, in our bodies, and then eventually fall in love. There is not always a straightforward way for this to happen, nor a clear path.
To begin to identify more of what Kali is about, here is a poem to the Kali of the cremation grounds by Ramlal Dasdatta of Bengal, in the style of the love poems to Kali of that region.
Because You love cremation grounds
I have made my heart one
so that You
Black Goddess of the Burning Grounds
can always dance there.
No desires are left, Maa, on the pyre
for the fire burns in my heart,
and I have covered everything with its ash
to prepare for Your coming.
As for the Conqueror of Death, the Destructive Lord [Shiva],
He can lie at Your feet. But You, come, Maa,
dance to the beat; I'll watch You
with my eyes closed.
There are so many elements primary to Kali in this poem: Her presence with death, as death, in the cremation grounds; Her unending dance which brings both life and death. She too stretches the edges between the living and the dead, but with a hint of preference for the transformation. She burns up all that separates us from her. There is a way that She takes up residence in our bodies as a burning force, a fiery urgency that cannot be cooled. Her love of ash and bones is a reminder of how short life is, how transitory our existence. Wouldn't we like to know what is larger than our own life and death through her? We let so much die and transform (or we burn it down in the middle of the night) so we might have room for her in our lives. We watch it all from the inside out, with our eyes closed, we are making love to Her and Him, in our bodies, in the endless fires of transformation. This path of endless transformation also leads us to endless renewal and rebirth. These are not separate. How could they be? Kali is also the deep healing of the Mother. Kali's warm arms are around me always, holding me even when I couldn't let my own mother hold me. Kali is healing breath. Kali is life lived in relationship to this cycle of emergence/sustenance/transformation.
For these nights dedicated to Kali, you might consider spending some time sitting at your Navaratri shrine and asking: what do I want to transform? Where in my life might I let go? How might I reach out to those I love and find deepening connection in the midst of transformation? How am I holding this triad of life's energies? Is there some aspect that I am shying away from, that I reject? Am I able to live into the transformation/death as easily as I live into emerging/birth or sustaining energies? How might I move with care and depth towards the fires of the Underworld in order to embrace my own shadow-self there and make peace with Her? Where in my body do I feel Kali's presence? Which of the rivers in me, in my subtle body is Hers? What offerings might I make to Kali during these days? Take notes in your journal, make prayers, and set out some offerings just for Kali Ma. Rejoice in your good fortune.
A small Navaratri note: the eighth night, tomorrow night, is the pinnacle of Navaratri. The final wild all night culmination of all the energies that we have been sitting with during this festival. Please take a little extra time tomorrow night to sit in the culminating fire of your puja. We have the ninth night and the tenth day to recover.
REMINDER: FREE SPECIAL NAVARATRI EMAILS
In honor of the commitments so many of you have made to Kali's practices since last year's autumnal Navaratri, and for anyone who is interested, I am sending emails during Navaratri with details on the various themes of these nine holy nights and how you might celebrate at home, at your own shrine. You only need to be signed up for the email list that originates from the website www.aditidevi.com. Please share this with anyone who is interested.
jayadurgaa-vatu praanaan sarvaangam sarvasiddhidaa |
rakshaahiinamtu yat sthaanam varjitam kavacena ca ||
May Jaya Durga (the Victorious Reliever of Difficulties) also protect the breath and life force. May She Who Grants all Attainment protect the whole body. May all the places that have not been mentioned in the recitation of this protective mantra be protected (as well).
May we be protected, may we be healed, may we be whole, and may we know ourselves deeply. May the blessings of Navaratri flow through us and all beings. May it please you, may it please her, that we share this puja together.
om aim hrim klim camundayai vicce
Sending much love and Jai Ma!
In Praise of Adya Kali: Approaching the Dark Primordial Goddess Through the Song of Her Hundred Names (Hohm Press, 2014) by Aditi Devi is available directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (personalized inscriptions are available).
You can also purchase a digital edition for your Kindle device or app from amazon.com.
(image above from Aditi Devi)