Image courtesy of Sanjay Patel
Every book on spirituality that I have read that has made a potent impact on me has somehow mentioned Kali. From The Little Book of Hindu Deities by Sanjay Patel to The Red Book by Sera Beak, Kali is depicted as feminine, fierce, wielding swords, and wearing skulls around her neck. She is scary and badass. Underneath the skulls and swords, she is naked, owning her body like the fiercely feminine goddess she is.
This week, we begin to celebrate Halloween (heck, if you’re in college you probably began on Friday). Of all Pagan holidays that American yogis can attempt to claim on their own, Halloween is definitely a safe bet. There is simply so much mythology associated with it, as there is in the yoga practice when we embody the deities that the poses represent.
And, as we edge into Daylight Savings, Kali’s job is to protect our time and space, to invoke her badass qualities in the most mundane aspects of our existence, showing us that every moment can be fierce and fabulous, if we channel that divine feminine energy that is too often kept at bay.
In every yoga class, we put on a plethora of costumes, shape shifting our forms to embody different ideals. Halloween, thus, is nothing new for the college yogi; it is simply an extension off the mat of what we constantly do with our bodies on the mat. So this Halloweek, I propose that we get more specific with the poses that we put on, with the attitudes that we invoke. Kali is a gal who knows what she wants. She has a big appetite and a heart cloaked in protective and fashionable skulls. She thinks carefully and consciously about time and space, about intentionality and love, about using her fierce (and hey, sometimes not-so-pretty) powers for good. Her means justify her ends.
I will leave you with a quote from the fabulous Sera Beak’s new book on Kali’s awesomeness:
Kali loves to hang out in graveyards, drink the blood of demons, and boogie and howl and stomp and spit and so forth. Unlike many popular Hindu goddesses, She’s not married. She does make love with the Hindu god Shiva…but only if She can be on top. Kali is sometimes known as the “‘forbidden thing,” or the forbidden par excellence.” She reveals the places in our psyches where we have denied our authentic sexuality, rage, killer instincts, animal nature, shadow, and power. These “forbidden” places inside us hold integral elements of our feminine divinity. They are ripe with our promise. Kali wields that sharp sword to slice through illusion and ego and anything that stands in the way of our total liberation.