“Heaven has no fury like the Great Mother scorned.” Vera deChalambert : Kali Takes America
Study in Ice ~ Goddess Rising
So fellow travelers, my post about setting boundaries received more responses than anything I have posted in the past few months. Seems like it struck a chord.
Most of the responses reflected common experiences and concerns about the increased disrespect, anger and bullying in comments on social media. I cannot shake the suspicion there are people in power who want it this way. When we are busy squabbling and tearing each other apart we become too preoccupied to be aware of what is happening around us.
Initially, being of the “spread light not darkness” philosophy, I stayed out of the diatribe, occassionally offering a voice of reason in threds of particular concern. I am pretty adept at making a point without aligning the statement with a specific iedology, other than my mantra that “kindness matters.” Yet as this cycle has spun out, even simple statements about kindness have generated zealous attacks from both ends of the political spectrum.
Which left me shaking my head and wondering “WTH has happened to us?”
Then I came across an article my sister-in-law posted. It’s titled Kali takes America. You can read the full content here. (full disclosure, the author Vera DeChalambert is not a fan of the 45th American President and that’s not the point I wish to discuss in any commentary following this post.) Ms DeChalambert invokes the imagery of Kali, the dark goddess of chaos bringing necessary clearing before progress can continue. As a student of religious mythology I am familiar with Kali (so familiar in fact I can almost hear Kali roar “Who you callin’ Myth, little girl?”) In one version of her story, she is said to have gained her power by repeatedly consuming and then rebirthing her husband, Shiva, the God of Destruction.
Yeah, Kali is one terrifying Entity.
I tend to take intellectual interpetations of indigenous myths with a large dose of experiential skepticism. Diluting the visceral aspects of Eastern traditions makes them easier to integrate into white Christian culture. Yoga is about physical well being and relaxation with little reference to the sexual nature of it’s origins. Tai-Chi is a meditative practice, not a martial art. Buddhism’s violent past is essentially unknown to modern day practitioners. Diffusion makes the cultural gap significantly easier to breech at the price of losing some core piece of original essence.
Know that I am or have been a practitioner of all these disciplines; their contribution to my spiritual path and inner strength is immeasurable. In my teens when most of my friends were self medicating with drugs and alcohol, the discovery of Eastern religions kept me from spiraling into the darkness of what I now recognize as bouts of depression. Eastern wisdom and practices kept my head above water. I am nothing if not grateful for this.
Still, I wonder how prepared our modern world is for the effects of unrestrained immersion in Kali’s world and I commented as such on my sister-in-law’s post. What followed was a heartfelt, mutually respectful exchange of interpretations from different perspectives. Our mutual conclusion was one of hope for an empowered grassroots movement focused on positive progress and diversity. Yet, Vera deChalambert maintains the price required to go beyond “false light” to find “true hope” is total immersion into darkness to transmute the realities of “discrimination, hate and oppression.” Not a toe dip in the murky waters of change, total immersion which is not likely to be an easy journey. DeChalambert alludes to this when she wraps her thesis in Leonard Cohen’s chilling masterpiece “You Want it Darker,” a dire but fitting anthem when you’re invoking Kali to “reanimate a discourse of hope.”
But a month into this chaotic Bully Driven administration it’s increasingly clear we have charted a course through some dreadfully dark, rough waters and those of us who carry compassion in our hearts must stand strong not only for ourselves but for members of society who have been marginalized all their lives. We will stand in solidarity against all forces that stand against us even as we hope justice will prevail and love will sprout from the seeds sown in the darkness of these days.
Sing for us from your heavenly respite Mr. Cohen. We’ll need your words to steel our resolve.
Walk gently on the path my friends. May kindness be our guide.