This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
~One of Gollum’s riddles for Bilbo in The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkein
I had an insight this week while I was meditating on Kali. One of the places I researched is, of course, Wikipedia.
The name Kali comes from kala, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means “the black one”. Since Shiva is called Kala – the eternal time, Kali, his consort, also means “the Time” or “Death” (as in time has come). Hence, Kali is considered the goddess of time and change.
Besides the nature of so many of the images we have of Kali, could this be part of the reason we in the West are afraid of Kali? Our society seems to value youth and beauty above all else (except money). We create endless products to slather on our skin, ingest into our bodies, or worse, go under the surgeon’s knife in an effort to preserve the appearance of youth. The media constantly determines what it beautiful for us, and women in particular starve and torture themselves to be more like the images we are shown. And yet all of these, youth, beauty and money, vanish in time.
As a Goddess, Kali is eternal. As time, she really is “dancing the world to destruction” because everything eventually crumbles and decays. Her dance goes on, heedless of our protests or pleading.
The only thing that stops Kali’s dancing in myth is Shiva – in one story he stops her by laying down beneath her feet, and in another version he turns himself into a baby and his crying interrupts her. For me, time seems to stand still when I am with my lover. And nothing else matters when my child is crying.
In both of these stories, love and compassion stop the destructive dance of time. Through the eyes of love, all things are made beautiful. Age no longer matters. And looking with compassion, I am able to find beauty in (almost!) every experience.
My heart is full to overflowing from these realizations. I wish you much beauty this week!
Growing up, I was a “good girl”. I did what I was told, and learned not to question authority. I was an excellent student, and I didn’t talk back. Now, as an adult, speaking up for myself is proving to be a challenge.
I find myself saying “yes” to things without even thinking about it. Or agreeing with others, just to keep the peace, only to find myself frustrated later, or resentful.
I’m starting to notice, working with Kali, that speaking out for myself is beginning to come a little easier. Not that it is easy, yet, just that I’m starting to do it once in a while. And it feels really good.
For example, I recently felt strongly about a decision that was being made at work. Higher ups wanted to do one thing, and I felt strongly that we would be better to do it sooner rather than later. I presented all of my reasons, and was backed by other staff members. Ultimately, higher ups still decided to do it their way. I still voiced my opinion.
And just this weekend, someone pulled up in front of my house, blocking part of my driveway as I was getting ready to leave for work. They were going to a garage sale at my neighbor’s house. In the past, I would have waited until they left (fuming all the while), or just maneuvered my vehicle around theirs (still fuming). This time, I rushed out, and asked if they would pull forward to clear my driveway. The man was extremely rude, and refused to do it, so I ended up driving around him anyway. I still went out of my comfort zone to ask.
It is interesting to note as I reflect on these situations, that I didn’t get my way in either case. It was quite uncomfortable for me to even speak up. In a way, it would seem to reinforce my early experiences to keep quiet and stuff how I feel.
And yet, quite to the contrary, it has strengthened my resolve to continue to speak my truth in a clear and compassionate way. As uncomfortable as it is to begin speaking out, it is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable to hold my tongue. My early conditioning may serve me well in keeping me from attacking others, while still valuing my own thoughts and feelings.
Kali is helping me to honor myself – first my body, and now my thoughts and feelings. I am so grateful.
Wow! It’s been quite the week! Thanks to everyone who commented in all the various spaces and places about my last blog post. Kali is definitely a controversial teacher!
I’ve made a lot of choices this week, mostly surrounding my health and my physical body. Overall, I’m pretty healthy. A little overweight, as are most North Americans, and, being a woman, I have some body issues (thank you, modern media).
Earlier this year I made a goal to do some sort of physical exercise daily. I did really well for about three and a half months. Then I started feeling stressed, and like I had more to do than time to do it in. And my good habits fell by the wayside.
This week the urge to be more physically active has been extremely powerful. And suddenly, without consciously making the effort, I have been active every day this week. The strongest desire has been to dance, and I feel that Kali is the one urging me in that direction.
Moving your body is an excellent way to release stuck energy in your system, and not just physical energy. Relating this to Kali, the stuck or stagnant energy is my demons. Kali was created to destroy a demon that none of the other Gods could rout. Yet she is also known as the One that gives birth to All. To make room for new things to come into your life, you must get rid of what no longer serves you.
Which brings me back to listening to my body. The extra weight I have been carrying around no longer serves me. To have the energy to do all the things I want to do in the near future, I need to stop carrying extra around with me, mentally and physically.
Besides exercising more, I knew that I need to be more conscious of what I eat. My biggest food demons are sugar and potato chips. I’ve said for a long time that my one addiction was sugar, and of all the addictions I could choose from, it’s really not that bad. Well, my body has been telling me differently lately. If I really want to be honest, it’s been telling me for a long time, and I haven’t been ignoring it.
So I read a little about overcoming sugar addiction on the net. One of the sites I visited said that saying I am addicted to sugar is a way of giving up my power. It says that sugar has power over me. Well, that was just the thing to motivate me to substantially cut back on the amount of sugar I consume (to clarify, I am talking about refined sugars, not natural sugars like raw fruit).
I haven’t given it up completely. There is sugar in the salad dressing I have on my lunch. And I have had dessert (other than fruit) once or twice this week. And I have managed to completely cut out my mid-afternoon candy fix. All in just one week.
It’s amazing the tricks my mind will play to try to get me to stumble. For example, on Saturday I started thinking that it would be nice to have some chips with my lunch. Mmmmm, Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar… I thought about how good I had been all week – no chips and no candy, and surely having chips this one day wouldn’t hurt.
I sat in my car before heading in to work, and checked in with my body. Chips? NO! Fresh veggies? Yes! Fruit? Yes! Chips? NO! Tea with stevia? Yes. Salt and vinegar chips? NO! I really tried to trick my body into wanting the chips. It didn’t work.
And that’s when I remembered a friend’s advice. “Listen to your body. And then do what it says!” I had to repeat that over in my head a few times. That “do what it says” part is really the more challenging part of that advice. I did go straight into work, though, without going to the store to buy chips.
I was really proud of myself! Each time I decided that I was more powerful than my cravings was a win that I celebrated inside, and made it that much easier to ride out the next craving. And I feel that as I let go of old habits and create the new habit of really tuning in to my body, I am also opening up to receive Divine guidance in other areas of my life.
Here’s some inspiration for you to listen to your body:
And more from my latest favorite artist to get up and dance!
It’s a new month, and a New Moon, and a new Goddess. (Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day, by the way!) It’s been interesting as I begin to work with Kali’s energy. She began whispering to me the moment I made the decision, even though I said I would wait until the 1st of July to begin working with her.
I have several books that touch on Kali, so I’ve been reading up on her, little bits at a time. What calls to me most is the story of her dancing the world to destruction. I’ll share a passage from my one of my favorite Goddess authors, Patricia Monaghan:
Several famous myths tell just how uncontrollable Kali’s energy is. Once, it was said, she dare to dance with Shiva, the Lord of the Dance. They grew wilder and wilder, more competitive in their dancing, until it seemed the world would shake itself to pieces – and so it will, for beneath all appearances that dance continues. Another time, it is said, Kali fought and killed two demons and celebrated her victory by draining their bodies of blood. Then, drunk with slaughter, she began to dance. Thrilling to the feel of lifeless flesh beneath her naked feet, Kali danced more ad more wildly – until she realized that Shiva himself was underneath her and that she was dancing him to death. The god’s tactic slowed Kali’s wildness, but only for the moment, and eventually she will resume the dance that ends the world.
Kali has been calling me to dance with her, in quiet whispers and loud music. She’s even used one of my online courses to give me dancing as homework! I’m looking at trying Zumba next week as well, a fitness class that offers Latin style movement with aerobic benefits.
While most of Western culture focuses on Kali’s destructive aspect, I am consciously searching for the beautiful side of this beloved Goddess, the Mahakali, or Great Kali. This Kali is the creator, who blesses all those who come to her with a pure heart.
To dance with Kali is to be outside of time (another meaning for her name, kali, is time). When I am dancing, I can forget all of the stresses and responsibilities of daily life. I can dance away my troubles, allowing the movement to release all the negative holding patterns in my body. In release, I create space for the positive to flow in.
I’m not sure yet where this dance will take me. And yet I seek with open heart and open mind, and I enjoy the journey of the dance.