As above, so below, as within, so without - every thing that we desire, and every thing that we fear, exists within us. Â This blog explores nourishing our dreams, committing to our highest values, and healing ourselves from the inside out: awakening and empowering the Goddess within our bodies, hearts, and lives.
Finding the Goddess Within
While reading Dianne Sylvan's latest novel this past March, I had a flash of insight that knocked me out of her Shadow World and into the timeless, space-less realm of what Ellen Dugan calls “just knowing.” The scene in the book was of a young Witch drawing down the moon – pulling the Goddess into herself. I told my empty bedroom, “She's not pulling the Goddess into her. She's awakening the spark of divinity within herself!” Cool! I thought. Then I went back into the reading.
When I first came home to the Pagan path eleven years ago, I felt very uncomfortable with the Goddess and God concepts. The Wiccan Lady and Lord felt extremely foreign and abstract to me. I was raised Buddhist, and as a teen had gone through a period of absolutely despising religion altogether, especially the Judeo-Christian religions, whom I held accountable for committing torture, rape, murder, and genocide in the name of their Lord.
I had an especially hard time choosing my magickal name, because the only name that felt right was a Goddess name, and I did not feel worthy of naming myself after a Goddess. After a couple months of struggle, I took the name Rhiannon, because I wanted to internalize her ability to overcome unfair burdens and punishments and become vindicated.
I did not feel like Rhiannon had chosen me. I'd read in many books, on many blogs, and talked to many people over the years who felt called by this Goddess or that, and I secretly hungered to receive such a calling myself. I wanted there to be a Goddess out there somewhere waiting for me to recognize her. I searched for Her in the world around me, in my studies, divination, and in my dreams. I performed rituals in Her honor and asked that She make Herself known to me. I asked other psychics and mediums if they saw a particular Goddess around me, and none of the Goddesses they'd list off felt right to me.
I wondered if the people who said they'd felt Called by a Goddess were exaggerating, or speaking metaphorically.
A few years ago, I hit the rockiest of all rock bottoms. I chose a Goddess to help me heal, Brighid, and She did. I never felt a personal connection with Her, but at a festival in Her honor I was offered a place to stay, and in that place I underwent such major healing that a few months later I felt I had been reincarnated into my same body.
It was not until the end of 2012, ten years after I started listening for it, that I finally heard my Call.
It was a very subtle Call. I was sniffing oils at Avalon, a metaphysical store in Orlando where I teach classes and offer readings, and I came across an oil for a Goddess that I felt drawn to, even though I knew very little about her. I searched the store in vain for some reference to her, and then googled the Hindu religion to see what I could find.
I have felt drawn to studying the Hindu religion since I was a young child, but I was intimidated by the thousands of deity names and the sheer complexity of the ancient religion that is still practiced, and still evolves, today. Over the years, I would peek at a book or article, become overwhelmed, and run away. This time I finally had the determination to fight that flight impulse, and I found Shakti, and I found that I already knew Her from a sensual creation myth I'd been teaching for years as part of The Incredible Vagina workshop.
In the beginning, there was One.
After a few million millenia, One got bored, and became Two.
Consciousness, Stillness, Space – Shiva
Energy, Movement, Matter – Shakti.
Shiva and Shakti took one look at each other and fell madly, passionately in love. They immediately united with each other in every way they could, and there was much Big Banging.
From their Union came all the photons that make light and all the particles that make the atoms that make the molecules that make the minerals and the cells and the bodies and the forms and the lack of form of all that exists, all that once existed, all that will exist some day.
Shiva and Shakti are inseparable from their Creation - they exist within everything, including us. Each of us is a unique expression of combined Consciousness and Energy, Stillness and Movement, Space and Matter.
There are thousands of Hindu deities, but they are all aspects of Oneness, different facets of the same diamond, different petals of the same flower, and we are that diamond. We are that flower. As above, so below; as within, so without.
In January, I found the book Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga, by Sally Kempton. I haven't started practicing Yoga yet, but this book has little to do with the practice of Yoga, and everything to do with finding the Goddess within us in many aspects, and awakening Her to heal and empower us in every level of our lives. I have not become an expert on Hinduism, but in the last few months I have learned a ton about the Goddess within.
Even better, I've found her. I've begun to nourish her with my love, and She me. Sometimes our love exchange spirals into a harmonic, setting off an explosion of warmth and love that overwhelms me with joy and gratitude. Sometimes She helps me kindle a spark of inspiration into flames of passion. Sometimes She just holds space for me and allows me to grieve, purge myself of all that is not love, and grow. Sometimes I get lost in the purging process and forget She's there.
What once seemed abstract and difficult to grasp is now something that I have experienced, and thus made real. Someday I will seek the God within, and feel as comfortable with the Divine Masculine as with the Divine Feminine. Until then, there is plenty to explore in this journey of healing and self-love.
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