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  • Writer's pictureAlena

Reclaiming Shakti within Traditional Yoga

"It is in the form of a Woman that the Goddess exists amongst Creation.

Creation comes from a woman,

And in her it dissolves again."

— Kaulavalinirnaya Tantra

We tend to live in a world that valorises the light over the dark in so many ways. That which is light is seen as desirable, whereas anything in the dark is seen as suspicious and uncomfortable. Even in our modern spiritual world, we see a fixation on lightness and purity and an avoidance and demonising of anything remotely dark.

One of the common (mid)understandings found in the spiritual teachings available to us in the west these days is that spiritual development means ascending, moving towards the light, and being light. We move upwards and out as a form of spiritual development. But unfortunately this leaves many in patterns of disembodiment, avoidance, and bypassing of our own human experience. Like anything in nature, ascension must begin in the roots. Like the mystics and masters of old have alluded to, true light pierces its way through embodied darkness.

Like the birth of a star... our true light must also be birthed through creative darkness.

Ancient paths of yoga and mysticism didn't exclude our darkness or the feminine forces of creation, but instead understood them as an integral part of our awakening. On the Tantric path, for example, everything is included: even what we don’t like, don’t want, find distasteful, ugly, and painful. Traditional tantric paths (not Neo tantra) guided devotees through the body, the womb, the darkness, the elements, and the sensuality of the human experience into full embodied awakening and liberation.

From Tantra's gynocentric and feminine cosmovision, all is welcome here in the lap of our Great Mother. Nothing and no one is left behind. The Mother Goddess not only welcomes everyone into her great lap with love, she also has the chops to eat and transform any and all of it with her great chops, her giant maw. Her lolling tongue will drink it all.

She is dark. All of her qualities and forms are her dark form coming into manifestation. The gift of the dark is union with her, in all her forms, in all forms, in all manifest and unmanifest existence. All of this exists within ourselves as well. Instead of turning away from the dark, the shadow, the scary, and the wounded, we turn towards it knowing it is a fertile source of wisdom and teaching.

It is through her body and our bodies that we face reality with eyes wide open. We learn to see in the dark. And from this darkness we birth and experience the magnificence of our own blinding light...

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