Creating the Container for Kali: How the Goddess Shows Up in Your Life
When I found her, Kali was waiting in the window of the Ma Shrine (a temple for female deities) at my new ashram home. I was mesmerized. She didn’t look anything like the other goddesses in the temple which was filled with examples of the feminine divine. All the other goddesses were wooden or metal, seated on a lotus or astride a peaceful looking mount. Even Durga carrying all her weapons and emanating powerful assurances sat calmly atop her tamed tiger.
In contrast, Kali was a smaller wooden statue painted in the brightest colors of the room. With jet black skin and the reddest tongue extended through her open mouth, reaching for me as if to swallow me whole, she wore a necklace of severed heads and a skirt of severed limbs.
She stood atop a resigned Shiva Lord of the Universe as a conqueror claims their prize. There was nothing peaceful about her! She was ferocious, and everything about her image should have been terrifying in my context of non-understanding. But I wasn’t afraid. I was drawn to her.
Kali was the first goddess I would ever have a relatable experience with from energetic understandings that lay beyond the perception of her form. I sat there and looked to her for what seemed like hours. Every day I would go to the Ma Shrine after our morning meditations and visit all the mother goddesses, offering Kali a flower and trying to feel what she was awakening in me: my power.
Years later, I became a mother myself. The day I became a mom, was the most beautiful experience of celebrating life and specifically that of my son, who is my everything. He is a constant source of inspiration for me still, just six and a half years along my journey into becoming a mother goddess. Love like this has no description you can place from pen to paper.
Asana Practices For Connecting With Kali
Kali is strength and perseverance. In asana practice, anytime you feel you just can’t hold a pose for one more breath or flow through a challenging sequence one more time you can visualize and feel her power flowing through you. Warrior poses, goddess pose, and lion’s breath can all be reminders of that inner resource that is our personal connection to Kali.
The ultimate experience of Kali on the mat happens at the end. When we roll from the pose of death, savasana, into the fetal position awaiting our rebirth. It’s Kali’s strength that frees us from what we have left behind on the mat. It’s Kali’s light that shines on the path forward.
Meditations on Kali
In meditation, we can cultivate the qualities we experience focusing on the representations of divinity and draw strength from their power. Meditating on Kali we remind ourselves that, “today I am strong.” I am the Ma. I can devour any darkness no matter how heavy and hard it may seem and bask in the light.
- Find an image or a statue of Kali that resonates with you. Remember, feeling a connection internally to her image doesn’t have to mean you understand it cognitively. You may also find her a little scary at first, but it’s exactly that journey through fear that she teaches us.
- Sit calmly in a quiet space and gaze at the image of Kali feeling the place in you that is harmonizing with her energy. From time to time, offer her a candle, a flower, some incense, or a sweet treat to develop a relationship with the goddess.
- Use Kali’s mantra to resonate on the same frequency as her power and feel your own inner resources grow strong. If you like, you can use a mala or prayer beads to say the mantras 108 times: Om krim kalikayai namah.
How Lakshmi Teaches Us Discipline, Gratitude, and Abundance
A long time ago, a dear friend of mine called me up, excited and ecstatic. She was engaged! But instead of immediately being happy for her, my mind went to my own life. How I was single and not even close to being married. A lifestyle I thought I should have been living by that point in my life. I was blinded by my own narcissistic tendencies and unable to feel true happiness for this woman who has, over the years, done nothing but generous, sweet gestures for me.
Fast forward to over a decade. I did yoga, and I chanted. But I also discovered that chanting to Lakshmi was helpful in invoking certain energies I wanted to embody. She is the goddess of adornment and beauty. She also asks us to use discipline to stay IN the practice. To feel abundance by focusing on what we HAVE versus what we are missing. She also allows us to feel true happiness and gratitude for people. She dissuades us from focusing on what we don’t have and instead on what we do.
I chanted and sang to her, Om Shreem Maha Lakshmiyey, calling upon the great goddess. As I chanted the mantra, which loosely translates to ‘my salutations and adoration to the great Lakshmi,’ I looked at my life and my choices. I was finally able to feel grateful for my individual path and appreciate the abundance of my life.
Lakshmi and Discipline
One day, Lakshmi woke up and felt the need for some time alone and space away from her duties. She decided to take a dive down into the deep milky ocean waters to take a long nap and a much-needed break.
Many years later, some demons started attacking the Universe. Demons often represent our negative thought processes and debilitating narratives. The demons were starting to win the battle. The gods spoke with Vishnu, Lakshmi’s husband, beseeching him to find her to help defeat the demons.
Vishnu, The Sustainer of the Universe and member of the Holy Trinity, acquiesced. He knew what ocean Lakshmi was in but not her exact location, so he found a stick and started churning the waters, hoping to rouse her from her self-retreat.