Over a year ago, I painted a light and airy canvas and called it Shakti Dance even before I really knew why. A year hence, I recognise shakti as that divine feminine essence that is quite universal though extraordinarily hard to “ground” into physicality since it has to want to land…and we need it to do so; never more than we do now. Like a butterfly, the feminine can be tempted to (fleetingly) land by a particularly radiant flower yet must always be at liberty to move on whenever the impulse (and she is inherently impulsive…) arises. In my recent explorations of Ayurveda, I recognise it as the airy and spacious essence of the vata dosha…and this is what I have been working on “grounding” in myself all these years, through healing, through art, through life itself. Hard task indeed for (as I have repeatedly found) its elusivity is part of its essence; it cannot be forced to stay and offer its innate gifts and still remain that which it is.
The goddess energy that this world so desperately needs at this time, by way of an important distinction, is the grounded form of shakti energy, for the goddess brings this energy “in” to the three-dimensional realm and then lands it into a physical form. That goddess is worldly, she is sexual, she is hungry, she is “real”; in other words, she is all those things the other two doshas are about (fire, water, earth)…only she is also the living representative of that shakti essence; the flesh-and-flood container of it. The goddess cannot be all about air and space; she likes edges that contain her…but on her terms. She is all three doshas in collaboration; and, in that, she is wholeness personified. This is what the ninth wave of evolution looks like. We all need the goddess to return – male and female alike – and our planet’s survival depends upon it.
For all too long, the particular bent of this world has been to force the feminine to stay here, against her will. In particular, those times when the vata portal of divine receptivity is wide open (the dawn hours, between 2 and 6 am, are one of these times) is a time when this shakti essence has tended to be grabbed by the ankle and forced down into situations that she did not want to be part of. For, whilst the feminine is wide open at those times…drawing essence down and spinning it into something solid…she is also at her most vulnerable, in an earthly sense, and so attacks upon her essence have been the most effective at those times. It is as though she most readily takes in whatever is suggested in that receptive mode, trusting all without questioning motivation or agenda…so it can be like planting a seed of self-destruction within her very substance to make an attack on the feminine in her most innate state of openness, making this manifest into the cells of the body and the belief systems she operates by once she grounds into the physical. The more destructive aspects of the masculine have learned to pray on those times as the most likely ones to get them what they have most wanted for eons; which is to control and manipulate the feminine (to everyone’s detriment).
In my own earlier life, this played out through a series of abusive situations and a literal attack, all (interestingly) focused upon that half-asleep early morning “vata” time of day when I was apparently most surrendered and thus wide-open vulnerable, physically speaking. The net result was that these events coerced and distorted me into a misplaced sense of having had my power stolen from me; for I was led to believe that it was so (and even that I was deserving of, or complicit in, what had happened). The truth is, my integrity was never so much as touched (nor could it be) yet it took me some time, and a long journey of self-discovery and empowerment, to appreciate that. These deeply buried traumas fed into other times when worldly stresses and worries seemed most likely to sneak into my inspiration time and, like a slow-creeping rot, undermined my desire to open to the free-flow of morning’s most inspirational thought processes. They saw to it that a pattern of “locking myself up” during the vata time of day replaced what should have been a state of naturally occurring receptivity to my most divine guidance. In short, I was left feeling cut off from my source – abandoned – and my optimum time of day became my most dreaded; the one from which I felt most alienated…or at least for a number of years. Really, I should have been landing my most divine feminine essence into the body at dawn each day, bringing all of its gifts into physical form…as should we all…but, ask yourself, are you open and receptive at that most inspirational time of day, or do life’s circumstances make all your physical systems clamp down in a state of resistance? Do you wake up feeling refreshed and inspired or hagged, tense, demoralised and already trodden underfoot by life’s apparent sordidness and brutality? Many of us are putting up with this locked-down state of existence without even realising we are; since we read the early warning signals of our world through our highly receptive nervous system (which is far more informed than we ever give it credit for) at every moment of the day, even when we sleep and especially in that half-sleep state of the early morning. For many of us, this means that, even before we rise to the surface of our minds or open our eyes of a morning, our nerves are already telling us to recoil from life. For so many (male and female…its all the same) our highest inspiration, our optimism, our tenderness, has fled before we have even drunk our first cup of coffee; we just slip on our hard-lined and well-learned responses and head out the door to get on with our lives. And so the feminine’s reluctance to be grounded continues on…to the terrible detriment of this planet.
I see how our very culture has worked on the vulnerability of those times when receptivity to shakti energy is wide open; how the onslaught of high-stress living, the relentless timetables of industry, even the interference of modern technology 24/7 (for instance) have messed with the time of day when we are all innately tuned to this cosmic shakti impulse…which is when our divine essence, as it were, comes closest to landing but can be so easily deterred from making the effort. Here’s a tester: if you were a butterfly with all options open, would you land on this life or would you flutter on by? That other vata time of day…mid to late afternoon, when our wide-awake creative potential and visionary insight should be open to the highest impulses we have access to during daylight hours…has, likewise, been made dogged, world-weary, creaking beneath an over-crowded desk, dashing through commuter chaos, burdened with domestic demands and beset with so much noise and chaos that we can hardly tune into ourselves let-alone anything much more subtle, elusive and impossible to define. Breaking with a conventional work timetable helped me to reconnect to that daily window of inspiration (those times became my painting and creating times). Yet, still, the cultural entrainment and abuses of my earlier life rang out a clanging reminder of all the times I had been “sat upon” and held to a belief system that kept my essence small and imprisoned; basically, not wanting to be here. Those early mornings, in particular, felt like the impossible task of coaxing a butterfly into a box knowing it was only to get pinned to a wall (hardly an inducement to land).
In my current life, a particular nerve is playing out this metaphorical drama for me (like its last bastion of expression)…for I have a pain issue with a nerve called the pudendal nerve which, literally, stands guard over my root chakra causing such pain and heat at the top of my thigh, radiating all the way to the base of my spine. It is fiery, inflamed and oh-so prone to over-reaction when certain triggers arise and especially at that vata time of the day, I find; and any wonder after all that it has been through, this lifetime and all the many others. I looked up the meaning of its root word “pudendum” and it turns out to mean “parts to be ashamed of”; and does that not say it all? In being branded thus by the scientific men-folk of the seventeenth century, the guardian to the most basal entry point of a woman’s anatomy has been made into something that is all about shame and a need for control; deemed only fit to be handled on another’s masculine terms, presumably someone who “knows best”. It is like the so-called shame and comeuppance of Eve all over again; and yet, under the duress of this false belief system, we women have turned it to our own distorted purposes, making this nerve into our own sentry at the gate to guard us from possible marauders (for the feminine has no innate belief system around a need for “protection”; it is the male spin on things that has given us that). In other words, the nerve itself is not “the problem”; it has only learned to behave thus based on lifetime after lifetime of fear-entrainment and so it feels it now has my best interests at heart when it flares up as angrily as it does. It is part of me but it has learned all its tactics from the masculine; just as women themselves have tried to survive and thrive by becoming even more masculine than men themselves; playing them at their own game, you could say. Good effort; but this is not what the return of the feminine (or “feminism”) is all about…at all.
At a time when I should be inviting heat into myself in order to complete myself through the wholeness of incorporating the pitta quality of fire into the mix of my vata and kapha qualities (enabling me to bring my shakti essence into physical form), my unhappy, over-reactionary nerve is interpreting that life-giving kundalini heat as “the enemy” beating at its door. That kundalini fire has never felt more persistent or well-timed than it is right now, in a woman who is fully open to her highest essence and on the brink of attaining the mid-life worldly maturity that lays ultimate wholeness at her feet…in other words, I need it and summon it to me. Indeed, this is the invitation to all women of this prime age-group at this time in our evolution; for we are ripe to have it all (airiness, fire, earth and water…all in one package) and to demonstrate how this degree of wholeness can be achieved, by all people, whilst THRIVING like never before; which is what embodied wholeness looks like. Our mature woman-wisdom has never been more potent or necessary to guide us all towards realising a whole new reality; we are like the key-holders to a new age. Yet how to do this without the fire burning us up at our root entry-point, where we connect with the physical (which is where so many women fall by the wayside as serious health issues dominate their middle years)? By unlearning all that ever entrained us that there was a need to contract in order to protect ourselves from harm; for, where we come from (all that air and unlimited spaciousness), there is no potential for harm; the feminine is beyond all of that yet has become bogged down in the distortion of an exclusively male perspective. Endless cycles of fear and a perspective that has us fighting everything that challenges us (with a vernacular of “battling”, “beating” and “winning” used everywhere we turn), even the cancers and all the other situations that arise in our bodies to tell us about ourselves, is a male approach that never really fit us…nor does it help us to stay embodied.
Time to relax that nerve; time to let it know it can trust again. Not through instigating more safeguards, more resistance, a bar on the door but through intention, affirmation, remembrance of the wholeness that was never lost…only mislaid. As I work with myself though the physical, emotional and energetic layers all at once, surrounded only by the loving support of a different kind of male; the divine and protective (not forcing, imprisoning, possessing or controlling) male essence that eagerly seeks to hold a woman’s essence like a cup holds ambrosial liquid, I unpeel lifetime after lifetime of misplaced contractions against the natural receptivity of the feminine aspect. Those triggers and oh-so painful contractions (helpful as they were trying to be) only ever kept me from being myself and my essence from truly wanting to be here in a physical form. They served their purpose but the time for them is gone.
These are important steps to realise at the personal level; for they are the self-same ones which many of us are performing at all kinds of levels of human existence, from the personal to the sexual to the political and all stages in between. As the feminine learns to dare to take down her blockade and end her long denial of her own natural receptivity (having fully reactivated the divine integrity that keeps her perpetually intact from within), the male learns how much more fulfilling it is to give (not force) and how to enjoy holding something like a tender embrace (not an imprisonment or statement of ownership) once again. And as the feminine deigns to come into this arrangement, wanting to stay, to receive, to be offered the structures in which she can be her most playful and unlimited self, we all get to experience wholeness…together.
More on that elusive butterfly Glass butterflies II
Closely related post on my Living Whole website Autonomic nerves and their ceaseless dialogue with the universe