The Scattered Goddess and the Seat of Shakti
The Scattered Goddess
It is no coincidence that as someone who is seeking spiritual growth and a return to the self, you are also very likely someone who feels passionate love for Mother Earth and a deep concern for the ravages we see around us. I had imagined a friend’s beautiful trip to Bhutan until she returned with news of a Palm Oil smog here in Indonesia. This shit is real.
She is burning.
All around the world there are stories and legends of the scattered goddess. This today, now merits exploring. The original stories of dismemberment seem to have more to do with philosophies of plurality (shakti is everything)
Now she is scattered on the wind of the flame, we are uprooted from the grounding energy that holds Shiva in check and away from imploding. The light airiness of the inner spirit must RE-MARRY the dark, rich material reality of the earth or we are fucked. That’s basically the feminine rise to me.
The Dismembered Goddess
In Hinduisim it is Sati सती, (Your Ladyship) form the Kālikā Purāna
Brahma and Vishnu meet to discuss Shiva’s energy, which has become so austere, he has literally become a danger to civilization, threatening to erupt in cosmic force. Sati, uniquely positioned in her perfection, will save the day and engage Shiva; an ideal woman internally and externally and the first to ever entice the ascetic.
After the marriage of Shiva and Sati, Mount Kailash became the abode of the sacred flame of love and the great yogi and the world find balance. Shiva meets Shakti.
Until, Goddess Sati’s father made his statement piece, leaving his ash covered, bone crushing, dreadlocked son in-law out of the fire ritual (Yagnya) which every other being in the Universe is invited to. I can imagine my Dad not digging him either. In fury Sati sacrificed herself on the ritual flame (no doubt metaphorically and not inviting the actual recreation of said event upon your husband’s death).
Shiva beheaded his father in law and carried Sati’s body around the Universe neglecting his godly duties in grief.
Lord Brahma pleads for order and Daksha’s life is returned with a goat’s head. Lord Vishnu then uses his ‘sudarshan chakra’
to cut Sati’s body to pieces, which fell on earth. These are the Shakti Peeths – the seats of Shakti and can be found in the Indian subcontinent (many are in West Bengal!), Bangladesh, Pakistan Nepal, Sri Lanka and one in Tibet (not surprisingly the most mystical given the significance of Mount Kailash).
In Mexican lore, Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec Moon Goddess is dismembered (a range of alternative stories include her warrior rebellion, a ‘dishonourable’ pregnancy and more) and her body is cast down the mountainside by her brother the Sun. The head of the goddess was tossed into the sky and so became the moon.
These images, of pieces of the goddess literally falling to the earth and being absorbed into her – tells us, from all traditions and cultures, in a very powerful and graphic way that the divine feminine is embedded in the Earth. It tells us that the Earth is sacred. Shakti is there to ‘propel the universe along its evolutionary path’, to create, destroy and evolve until such a time the Universe takes it’s rainbow samadhi.
Ultimately, the Hindu scriptures and Yogic texts focus on the importance of the meeting of the divine masculine and feminine in sacred union. There could be nothing more right, more potent, more logical.
However, in the modern world, this scattering seems to me to be REAL dismemberment and the desperate need to return to wholeness and re-member (coming from the space of dismemberment). This is patriarchy, rape, abuse, the destruction of women and her essences and her powers and her alienation from her blood wisdom and the planet. We must rise. Together. Not just women. But the feminine within us all.
Historically the modern day rise of the feminine is literally: ‘triggering the transformation of consciousness’ (Teri Degler (author of the Divine Feminine Fire: creativity and your yearning to express yourself)
My vision quest of September 2019
My own personal poetry has so many references to being restricted and held back in my teens. Recently, I am really starting to see that. Even my yoga teacher trainer noticed that I was somehow limited in the boundaries of asana. I think the word she used was ‘stuck’ or something like that. Funny after 500 hours of yoga YTT, I was stiff. Ancestral stiffness. Expectations of Middle Class England. My great grandmothers were all Victorians – what to do.
So yesterday, I did a little work in my vision quest in the sanctuary of my red tent (office) to mark all 51 Shakti Peeths on my paper map of India. It took quite a long time and I was really so into it. Google maps helped, but I’m assuming it’s pointless looking for the one in Tibet as it seems to be esoteric!
One day I will return to gather her 51 stories and photos on my own pilgrimage and in the process re-member the dismembered body of Sati and no doubt a lot more. So, next stop West Bengal! Phd! Book!
Jai Ma! Jagadambe Mata Ki Jai!