Kali is fierce.
Kali brings about the death of the ego so that the true self can emerge.
Kali gets right up in your face, trespassing your personal boundaries, howling and screeching and bounding up and down, swinging a severed head in her hand, fresh blood dripping, begging us to wake the f**k up.
She is the savage impulse that forces us to our knees and has us supplicating for mercy—we pray to Jesus, Buddha, Yahweh, Cosmic Consciousness (whoever is listening) in our desperation for help.
For years, I have repeated this mantra and meditated on its meaning:
asato mā sadgamaya: Lead us from unreal to real.
tamasomā jyotir gamaya: Lead us from darkness to the light.
mrityormāamritam gamaya: Lead us from the fear of death to the knowledge of immortality.
But it was only when elephant journal asked me to reflect on the writing process, that I realised how the two (the goddess Kali and writing) were inextricably interlinked.
Writing is transformative.
From the initial conception of an idea and the way we tenderly nurture it, allowing for its subsequent growth and development, right through to the birthing of a full-term piece; writing, a creative process, mirrors creation: the process of conception, birth, life, death and rebirth.
Writing is a catalyst for emotional and spiritual alchemy.
When we write, we become spiritual warriors; our pens destroyers of unreality, unveiling the illusion of the ego.
Writing provides the opportunity for uprooting and etherising unconscious impulses—our demons—laying them bare on the operating table of the page, dissecting them with the incisive scalpel of our intellect and healing them with the compassion that arises upon re-reading.
In doing so, we are healed and rebirthed.
Unconsciously, through writing, we replay the sacred drama of the Puranas.
Where all the gods had failed, they consolidated their collective divine energies into the creation of a being powerful enough to vanquish the hitherto invincible Raktabija. Garlanded with a necklace of severed heads, tongue lolling and brandishing a knife dripping with blood, she was the world’s last hope of annihilating the demon.
Arguably the most fearsome of the deities in the Hindu pantheon, a literal interpretation of Kail’s iconography would lead you to believe that she is the goddess of death (she is, in fact, the goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction, and Yama is the god of death). We learn that she becomes inebriated with the blood of Raktabija, initiating a frenzied dance threatening to destroy the very fabric of the cosmos.
Kali takes no prisoners.
She gives no f**ks. She takes no sh*t.
Her untamed, ferocious and unbridled nature are at the root of her boundless compassion. It is through the savagery of her insistence that moksha, or liberation, from that which is not real becomes a tangible possibility for us, her children.
When we write, the Kali impulse imbibes us with the courage to exorcise our inner demons, to deliver a terminal blow to the etheric cords that enslave us.
A gentle tap on the shoulder and a disapproving tut tut is no match for the resolute hold of illusion created by the ego.
In her compassion, Kali jolts us out of our complacency and forces us from the passivity of seeing to the active state perceiving; she cries out for us to become active and mindful co-creators of our reality. She shrieks with glee as she ignites the flames of transformation and watches us emerge from them renewed, transformed, transfigured.
She exposes our most raw, aching wounds. Although we may flinch and grit our teeth as we are prodded and poked, we emerge humbled by our weaknesses and gain a deeper, more profound understanding of who we really are.
Her purpose is to create an internal state so uncomfortable, so intolerable, so unbearable that we are forced between choosing to fall or fly.
I’ve put pen to paper when livid with anger, frantically scrawling my disjointed thoughts. I remember once stopping in my tracks with the awareness that anger was an inappropriate response to the situation. A slither of realisation dawned on me and, for a moment, I understood things as never before: the situation, when distilled through the ego, incited anger. But, through the alchemical process of writing, anger metamorphosed into compassion.
I was healed and rebirthed.
I have also written extensively during fits of anxiety and uncertainty. On one occasion, I clearly remember how anxiety found its appropriate expression in anger. My personal boundaries had been infringed upon, but I had not overtly recognised the transgression for what it was. A general feeling of malaise escalated into overwhelming anxiety. The process of writing unveiled a true perception of the situation: I was being used as a buffer between two individuals and I was absorbing the impact of their dysfunctional relationship at the cost of my emotional well-being. I took action.
I was healed and rebirthed.
The symbolism of Raktibija works on manifold planes. There are global forces that threaten our existence: consider the Raktabijas in Syria, Myanmar, Ethiopia, the U.K. and the U.S.
There are also fragments of Raktibijas in each and every one of us which, if not addressed, will lead to us being consumed in the fire and blood and anguish of our incorrect perceptions.
This is why our Raktabijas need to be addressed and battled head on.
The war against Raktabija necessitates a dismantling of the corrosive status quo on all these different planes—for it is already imploding.
With every piece we create, we peel back the layers of the ego.
Through our writing, we instigate a perceptible change in our emotional and spiritual fabric.
By developing ourselves, we give the middle finger to the status quo and mouth the words, “f**k you,” as we edge closer to liberation.
Every time we write, we die unto ourselves.
Therefore, this is my message to you:
Author: Anne Marie Morello
Editor: Travis May