RECLAIMING THE DIVINE FEMININE
(Continued from The Power of the Divine Feminine in a Dark Time)
I had already moved from Montreal in 1989 when the Polytechnique shootings happened. I remember thinking from my Toronto home that it could have been me that was shot and killed that day. I was like those 14 young women, ambitious engineering students who had followed their path to higher education. But unlike them, I had chosen to study at the University of Waterloo.
I was in the school of Architecture, which was at that time, and may still be (I honestly don’t know), very much an old boys club. I allowed the energy of that clan to deeply affect the way I felt about myself. Fed up with being a topic of conversation for my long blonde hair and bold attitude, I found myself soon with a shaved head, flirting with the idea of same sex relationships and unconsciously desiring to be more like a man. Needless to say, I became sick every month as an unexplored rage at being was pumping through my body in the form of extremely dysfunctional menstrual cycles. I hated being a woman.
For much of my life, being a woman has felt unsafe. I have been subject to two overt physical assaults, one masked in the socially palatable term “date rape”, and another that involved being the primary witness in a legal trial after a strangling almost cost me my life.
As I explore in more depth in my book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie”, I had to eventually take pause and ask why I was experiencing these traumatic situations. What was I to learn through them? I have come to realize that I was deeply out of touch with the extraordinary power of the Divine Feminine. Through these painful situations, I was being called to understand “Her” – the infinite and formless – within “me” – the finite and material.
Through my personal practice as an artist, yogi, counselor and healer, I have had the privilege of bearing witness and creating a safe space for others to heal from many things, some of which have been assault. Each individual comes with a particular set of soul patterns and beliefs that create their reality. So for each person, the reasons they find themselves in painful situations that involve the atrocity of violation or rape, will be unique. We cannot play God and pretend we know the real “how comes”. But what I do know is that each painful situation I have found myself in has been a call from Her, the divine mother, to awaken to the fullness of who I am. This does not condone painful acts, but sees them within a much greater whole.
Through the power of compassion – seeing our self (the good, the bad and the ugly) in others – we liberate ourselves from the inner tyranny of blame and rage to find the freedom of forgiveness. We realize in essence, that we are a lot more the same than different – though our choices vary. The one who creates acts of violence does so because he or she is in tremendous pain. The one who suffers from acts of violence is also in pain.
We all crave the feeling of love and safety that we will only find when we rest eternally in the lap of the Divine. We each will experience that kind of eternal love in moments of grace, from time to time, until someday we reach final enlightenment. For now, we open ourselves up to the possibility that it exists within ourselves, like a precious jewel in the dark cave of our wounds and fears.
The Divine Feminine is, in part, about liberation by moving through the dark. We must go to the places that we judge as ugly, the parts that feel painful, the aspects that frighten us in the deeper corners of our psyche – because therein lies hidden power trapped in delusion. When we open the proverbial closet doors we spend so much energy keeping shut, we realize that there was nothing to fear after all. Then, all the energy it took to keep things buried can be freed up for more creative and enjoyable uses.
As I say in my book, “As we embrace the dance of our unique life within the perfect cosmos, we come to understand that the compassionate sword of the warrior goddess Kali exists within our spine like the sacred tree of life. As energy rises through our being in flashes of illumination, we experience her dharmic sword that cuts through the darker recesses of our psyche and sets us free.”
Like the vulva, we need to learn to open and close, just as a flower does. We do not need to say yes to everything to be liked or spiritual. We must learn to say the sacred “no” in order to say a complete “yes”. As we say “no”, we are saying “yes” to something else.
Following the solstice, this blog series will continue by discussing the power of a woman’s body.