December 2, 2021

What Goddess Kali teaches us about Shadow Work.


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In many Tantric texts, Kali is considered the supreme deity and, in fact, equivalent to Brahman, the absolute reality.

Kali, the fierce Dark Goddess, is perpetually destroying and, at the same time, creating—destroying in order to create and creating in order to destroy.

There is a ceaseless motion to Kali, and as such, no polarity because everything is as one. With Kali, no preference is given to specific elements. There is no light and dark, love and hate, mercy and revenge; there is only ceaseless becoming.

When we commit to shadow work, we dance with what wants to come through at any given moment.

Like Kali, we are both creators and destroyers.

If what we want to come through is benevolent and healing, we can give it life through writing, speaking, painting, blessing, dancing, and mothering. If it is potentially corrosive and destructive, we transmute this energy, even dissolve it, by adding motion.

Mistakes are made, and shadow demons are unintentionally invoked to wreak havoc when we remain motionless.

Let me explain how this works:

Motion in physics is defined as a change in position. This may sound like I’m stating the obvious, but a change in position is achieved with our body, not with our minds.

Remove your head from the equation when working with shadow energy. Consider Kali who is always in motion and always in the process of becoming.

You and I are spirits within a body. Our full self is an embodied self. This means you have to move your body, or at least part of it, in order to effect change.

Here’s a quick example of how you can change your position.

Say you’re lying in bed, scrolling through someone’s Instagram feed, and you become aware of feelings of envy. How can you transmute this energy? One of the quickest and most effective ways for transmuting envy into appreciation is to leave a message of appreciation in that person’s account. When you do this, you take a potentially corrosive emotion and transmute it into something life-giving.

The point is this: don’t reflect on your feeling of envy. Don’t sit with it. Take immediate action. Use your fingers to send a message, write a letter (that you will actually send), or walk up to someone and tell them how much you appreciate them.

Notice how the energy changes within you. Follow this energy out of bed and into the garden or into your living room and dance with it.

How to recognize blocked energy:

>> You hear yourself saying “I’m fine” when you are in fact seething or boiling or drowning. When you’re pressing energy down, for whatever reason, both your life and vocabulary lose vibrancy.

>> You’ve stopped making and creating.

>> You’re making excuses for not doing the thing you want to do.

>> You’re living a double life, pretending one thing and living another.

Kali teaches us that everything is in motion including our emotions.

Kali teaches us to embrace what fear repels.

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