A number of people whom I care deeply about are currently getting their asses kicked by – choose your preferred semantics – the Goddess (Momma), the God (Papa), the Universe, Divinity, their Higher Power, etc. (for me, it’s usually the Momma). I have been in that space before. Hell, I set up home there for a while shortly after beginning this Path in earnest. I know what it’s like because I have lived it. My beloved and I have talked previously about the way in which we choose to (or choose not to) learn our live’s lessons. We have talked about how usually, the Momma will give us a few tries to learn a lesson the easy way. Some people pick up on that pretty quickly. I was not, when I first started, one of those people. If we don’t opt for the easy way, we get the hard way. Enter Kali. Kali is one of Momma’s many faces/aspects, and She is a harsh Teacher. To put it in the most straight forward sense, She basically comes in, finds everything that you’re holding on to which is a load of bull shit and takes it away, usually making you absolutely miserable in the process until you reach that rock bottom point when you have no other option than to walk through your shit and get it on straight.
I was one of those who required Kali’s appearance. Ever since I took a non-western mythology course in undergrad where I learned about Hinduism, I was fascinated with Kali (this is certainly not a requisite of Her manifesting in your life). Many people who know anything about Kali are usually scared of Her (at least initially, and if they aren’t, they probably should be) with Her big ass tongue, Her necklace of severed heads, Her waist garland of severed human arms, the wild expression usually depicted on Her face. Most people know Kali as the goddess of destruction, yet, She not only destroys, and She certainly doesn’t destroy just for the sake of doing so.
I subscribe to Exotic India’s newsletters which get sent out once a month, I think, and regale bits and pieces of Buddhist and Hindu thealogy. The most recent newsletter is all about Kali, and I see this as no coincidence when I look around and see all these people in my life who, whether they know it or not, are currently dealing with Her. Though I had known that Kali’s destructive workings were for the point of making room for rebirth, I had never realized She was a triple goddess, but the newsletter clearly states She is. She is death, birth, and life. The newsletter aptly describes Her saying,
“The dark-hued Kali, who represents
in her being darkness, suffering, death, deformation and ugly, is
the most potent source of life, light, happiness and beauty – the
positive aspect of the creation. She destroys to re-create,
inflicts suffering so that the delight better reveals, and in her
fearful form one has the means of overcoming all fears, not by
escaping but by befriending them.”
I see Kali’s long tongue designed to lick up the blood spilled when She cuts away at the illusions in people’s lives. Her necklace of severed heads taken from those who cling to false ideas and realities. The garland of severed arms taken from those who were constantly reaching for illusion so that they may only now reach Truth. Her darkened skin representing the darkness from which all Life must come. In all this, She not only destroys, but tends and nurtures and brings back to life. The newsletter makes a beautiful point in recognizing that a journey that begins in lightness terminates in darkness, but a journey that begins in darkness will always conclude in endless light.
Sue Ann over at Always Embraces All Ways recently wrote a fabulous post in which she makes the point of delineating the difference between Compassion and sympathy. Sympathy stems energetically from a victim mentality while Compassion stems from Love. When my Teacher is acting on Momma’s behalf, kicking my ass, and confronting me with the fact that I don’t have my shit on straight (an act of supreme Compassion), and I say that it sucks or that it’s hard, her compassionate response is some variety of, “Yeah, so?” or “And your point is…?” That is Compassion. Fierce Compassion. If she were to say something more saccharine like, “Poor you – I feel so bad for you, etc.” she would be doing me a disservice. Sue Ann and I shared comments about how the Divine Feminine is active, not passive. Her point for us is to move through our lives, to grow, to change, and that is antithetical to receiving/giving or wallowing in sympathy or self-pity.
Sue Ann also made the point that most of us don’t understand what Love really is, that our society has purported a definition of love that is conditional, that confuses love with need, and I agree. It stands to reason, then, that most of us would similarly confuse and misunderstand Compassion, which stems from Love, as only something that is fluffy and soft when it is not. My experience with Kali was one of ultimate Love and Compassion, and I can tell you without a doubt that it sucked ass until it was over. And then it was amazing. Then, I could see it for what it truly was. Then, I was beyond grateful to have had the experience that helped me grow, change, and become more of my True Self.