a) nice symbols invented by the Celts who also built Stonehenge and were very, very nice people who were raped and pillaged by the nasty Vikings who also stole their runes?
b) not what I would get into because they can be and often are used for evil
c) an ancient alphabet that is used for divination and you can also put them on candles for meditation for good luck and things like that
d) a very powerful magical system which originates from the ancient Teutonic cultures
2. Faery Wicca is…
a) what I’m into because it’s all about worshipping the light and there isn’t any dark side because the fairies are very nice and kind and wouldn’t hurt anybody you know
b) all about the nice little people who live at the bottom of the garden
c) a progressive wiccan tradition described by Starhawk based on what it is thought that the Celts may have thought of the indigenous Britons (who they may possibly have thought were magical beings of some sort – or that’s the theory, anyway
3. What is your opinion of Thelema?
a) evil evil evil evil evil!!!!!! It’s the religion started by the nasty atanist Aleister Crowley and he was so totally evil, he sacrificed ten thousand baby boys!!! And used black magick so no-one found out!!
b) very dark, and dangerous. I knew someone who used to know a Thelemite and apparently he was really weird and had, like, a really dodgy aura and he said some really odd things
c) I don’t know what Thelema is
d) I’m a Thelemite so obviously I have a favorable opinion of it
e) It’s not my path, but I have a lot of respect for it
4. Someone accuses you of being a black magician. Your response is….
a) “oh no, I’m a white magician! I only work with the light and good forces. I’d never ever work with evil forces!”
b) “what the hell’s ethnic origin got to do with anything???!!!!!”
c) “magick is neither black nor white, it can be used for good or for evil, and before you say anything, I follow an ethical code which prevents me from using it for evil.”
d) same as c), but you leave out the stuff about the ethical code, not because you don’t have any ethics, but because you can’t be bothered to point it out to idiots who assume the worst of you on no evidence whatsoever.
e) you launch into an explanation of why “good” and “evil” are inadequate concepts but you go way beyond their ability to comprehend you before you get onto the fact that magick is a neutral force and cannot be described as either black or white, even if such things were adequate terms
f) you laugh, but don’t say anything
5. When you choose a book on magick do you….
a) go for one that will tell you what you want to know straight away without having to read through all kinds of discussion on boring stuff like free will.
b) check the cover, title and blurb to make sure that there is nothing suggesting involvement with dark forces
c) go for an author that your friends think is really good
d) read the forewords of all the books available, do a search on the Internet, ask friends who know about the subject to recommend a few titles and then read the books that you feel most drawn to
e) you read all the books available on a given subject and then make up your own opinion
6. Fluffy pink instant magick spell books are….
a) the only books with a proper ethical code because they firmly state the thousand fold law of Karma instead of having pages and pages of waffle about interfering with people’s free will which is only an excuse for black magicians to do black magick anyway
b) harmless, you suppose, and they might spark an interest in some people who will then graduate onto proper books about witchcraft
c) utterly despicable! You’d call for them to be banned if it weren’t for the fact that you don’t believe in censorship
d) hilariously funny. You and your friends regularly go to the new age sections of mainstream bookshops in order to take the blatant piss out of them, and delight in inadvertently scaring all the new agers who take you for being evil black magicians
7. Your familiar….
a) is a fwuffy puddy cat called Mr Fwuffykins who is your high priest and who is very very nice and kind and cuddly, – except when he broke both your legs in a freak accident
b) is a bunny wabbit
c) none of the above
d) frequently gets you in trouble because it eats other people’s familiars at rituals
8. The history of Wicca is:
a) It started in my coven in the 11th century, (we have hereditary high priestesses you know) when several witches that were fleeing persecution got together and pooled their knowledge and started a secret tradition called Wicca that’s so secret I can’t tell you anything else about it. Except a silly man called Gerald Gardener made up a fake version which is rubbish
b) It dates back to the dawn of civilization and has continued in secret(until the 1950’s when it went public) in an unbroken tradition. All the stuff about it being influenced by Thelma and Ceremonial Magick is just lies made up by Thelemites cause they’re nasty and jealous cause their religion was invented by Aleister Crowley and so not as valid as an ancient tradition like Wicca
c) It was officially started in the 1950’s, but is a continuation of one form of traditional witchcraft
d) It is a revival of what is known about traditional witchcraft, although there are other influences as well.
e) It was started in the 1950’s by an OTO initiate called Gerald Gardner. How much relation it has with traditional witchcraft is uncertain. However, the strength of a system depends upon whether it works or not rather than where it came from.
9. The stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are
a) I know they’re true because my High Priestess has astrally projected back in time and talked to Guinevere and she told me that she said it’s all true
b) literally true, and anyone who says they’re not is evil
c) beautiful, inspiring stories, who cares if they’re real or not?
d) myths, with probably some basis in reality, like there probably was a king Arthur and a round table and some knights
10. Reason is…
a) Something that we never do in the Coven of the White Light of the Nice Pretty Goddess of the Fairy Elf People because our High Priestess says it’s bad and only evil people use reason because it turns people onto the Dark Path of the Evil Dark One
b) really bad for the intuition, you know. If you want to be intuitive you have to shut down the boring logical parts of the brain that do reason. Otherwise you’ll end up like the scientists. Really boring and not intuitive
c) essential. Yet it is also essential that it is used appropriately, as there are times when reason will not serve you
11. The Wiccan Rede is…
a) really easy to live with most of the time because I only work with the light side, but when I see the bitch woman that runs that other coven who’s really really horrible and bitchy (I recon her coven do black magick or something, you know!) I find I just can’t control myself and the only way I can avoid slapping her face is to be really really bitchy to her and to keep on slagging off her coven and her ability to do magic and, well, anything else that comes to mind…
b) an ye harmeth none, do whatte ye wille – or any other grammatically incorrect attempt at old English
c) if it harms none, do what you will
d) a simplified version of the Law of Thelema
12. Magick is sometimes spelled with a “k” on the end because….
a) if it’s spelled “magick” then it must be black magic because only black magicians spell it that way. People who work with the Light don’t need to change the spelling because we’ve got nothing to hide and in any case, it looks spooky with a “k” on the end
b) the people who spell it that way just want to make themselves look big and scare people
c) its the archaic way of spelling magic
d) Aleister Crowley changed the spelling for numerological reasons, and so that magick could be distinguished from pulling rabbits out of hats
Come to the Dark Side: Fluffy Bunny Meets Kali – 9 May 2006
The Universe is about balance: day and night, up and down, male and female. Every concept has an equal but reverse concept, every idea can be described fully by what it’s “not”. Everything is known by its opposite. So how do we reconcile our beliefs with the Universal balance? Let’s start with a working description of Paganism.
Most Pagans agree that Nature is important. Most agree that there is something more than just this physical plane. Most agree to a higher Being, whatever form It may take. There are also the added ideas of the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do what thou will” and the Threefold Law which states that any thing you send out will come back to you, at least three times. These are basic and simple concepts which all too frequently lead to the idea that Pagans are basic and simple tree-hugging vegetarian animal loving natural fiber-wearing peaceful former hippies who love the Goddess. In other words, “fluffy bunny”. Their Pagan world is all sweetness and light, with good will towards all and never a tear shed. No negativity, no conflict, no bad things—and certainly no darkness within their own souls.
Remember balance? Remember opposites? Of course there is darkness in everyone’s soul. We have all experienced the unpleasant emotions: hate, anger, jealousy, grief, despair, sorrow, greed. We have all known troubles and problems. Let’s face it, if you think you have no problems, you simply do not have a good grasp of the situation. I would offer this thought to you, however: emotions are not right or wrong, good or bad. They exist. It’s how we deal with them that makes the difference, that makes us better—or worse. Likewise, Universal energy—whether you call it magick or not—also merely exists and does not carry any weight of good or bad, harmful or beneficial. Like electricity, it simply is there to be used. And it’s the use that creates the harm or the good.
And before we stomp those poor fluffy bunnies down, consider this. Most of the people who are characterized as “fluffy bunny” are considered to be blissful in their ignorance. They seem to see only a happy, Disney-like world, with no idea of how things “really are”. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are wrong—or stupid —to have a more upbeat point of view. There’s a difference between focusing on the positive and denying the negative. I know; I fight negativity in my own life every day. It’s there, but I chose not to let it be the standard by which I measure my day. To focus on the positive is to see the wonder that is all around us and to live in such a way as to maximize that within ourselves. To deny the negative is to be living in a dream—and waking up is going to be a nasty shock.
I am just talking about those who have a Mary Poppins view of the world—because there is another kind of bunny, even more fluffy than those who sing about sunbeams and lollipops. Those are the “Charmed” Fluffy Bunnies. They are people who treat Paganism like a fad, like dying their hair purple. It’s a way to shock the parents, seems to be edgy and “scary”, to claim “power” and to look more important than they are. They don’t have a damned clue about the true spiritual meaning of what they profess to believe; they are way more caught up in having the “perfect” cloak, athame or other tool than in actually living the path. They talk big about spells and magick without even mentioning introspection or meditation. It’s a game, not a way of life.
There are two kinds of “Charmed” bunnies—the ones who are totally into the whole cool Wicca thing, man—and what one writer on the Internet describes as “Stuffy Bunnies”—Goth and morose, talking about capturing demons in crystals and generally behaving like they are the undead. He calls them the “evil twin” of the Fluffy Bunny and points out that they are generally discredited as fast as their happier counterpart. Both of them give a really bad name to the Pagans who are trying to live in a truly spiritual way and have to constantly educate the ignorant masses that we do not, in fact, use chicken blood for anything. And we don’t believe in Satan, so why would we pray to him?
Back to balance in ourselves. To deny, to totally and completely disavow any less-than-admirable part of ourselves is to deny who we are. We are the total sum of our being, not just this part and that part. Even the gods and goddesses themselves had behavior and emotions that were not beneficial. Hera is known for her jealousy—since Zeus was so busy spreading the love with everyone else. Mars is the god of war, for goodness sake—troublesome and angry, always looking for a fight; not the sort of role model one usually aspires to. Even Aphrodite (or Venus) is considered to be a Dark Goddess. She may be the Goddess of Love, but it’s physical love and lust that she rules, not the abiding love of life’s partners. Think about all the problems she has caused—and her son, Eros who is also known as Cupid.
There is a Zen saying that the only thing you have to know is your original face. Almost every Pagan path encourages self-knowledge, especially since they also require self-responsibility. With no Satan to blame those bad actions on, a Pagan is required to acknowledge that every action they do has its consequences and that they should be prepared to accept them if they want to complete that action. So responsibility stems from knowledge. I know who I am, I know what I do. Can we apply the Wiccan Rede? Do we need to?
For beginners on this path, it’s probably not a bad idea to take the Rede and try to incorporate it into one’s life. Since many of us are coming from Judeo-Christian backgrounds, with their many rules and regulations, we may actually need a “commandment” to help us move away from the strictures of the “Thou Shalt Not”. What does that mean, “an it harm none”? What constitutes harm? Here’s something to think about: that “none” also means the self. There are things that we do to ourselves that we would be horrified to apply to others—but somehow, we don’t perceive them as being harm to ourselves. I’m not even talking about the physical harm of addictions, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, dangerous behaviors. I’m talking about the emotional and mental things we do to ourselves. “I’m no good”, “I have such a fat…”—any image of self that we hold that is unkind, any lack of faith in our own abilities, this is harm to self. And if you doubt me, think of all the money that therapists are making helping people express these issues.
So there is definitely negativity within our lives. I prefer Christopher Penczak’s term, “harmful” rather than negative, but we all understand what I’m talking about. There are emotions and thoughts that lead to harmful effects, that degrade and drag us down rather then lift us and help us. Everyone has them. How do we deal with them? How do we learn to acknowledge the harm that can be caused by the feelings that we have—and then how do we choose to express them in a way that is not harmful?
I have a friend who was sexually abused as a child and still harbors enormous anger about it. I pointed out that this anger was not hurting anyone else but her. I also suggested that she find a way to take all that great anger energy and put it into something beneficial—like volunteering at a child’s shelter. I also suggested that she make the conscious choice to let go of the anger, to acknowledge it but to stop letting it control her. I can personally vouch for the sheer blessed relief of choosing to let go of any harmful feeling or thought. Once you have said, “Yes, there it is, but I will not let it control me any longer”, you have moved past it and can get on with your life.
Let me reiterate: there is a vast difference between making this choice, knowing that you have negativity within you but preferring to focus on the positive and the complete denial of any negativity. The dark goddess lives in us all; suppressed and denied she will at some point leak out as hostility and sarcasm, nagging and put downs. Suppressed too far, she can manifest herself by turning her destructive energy inwards, creating depression and disease. To bring dark into the light and light into the dark of our psyches can be a frightening experience. To acknowledge intense emotions such as anger, despair, grief and fear, especially if we relate this to mothering, can be earth-shattering.
But is the dark bad? Isn’t it more likely that the dark is something that we need? There can be no light without the darkness; each day has a night in which we rest to refuel ourselves, to regain our energy. As such, the dark is represented as a place and time for renewal. Surely it would stand to reason, then, that we need the dark side of ourselves; but if that is the case, why do so many of us strive to rid ourselves of this aspect, to deny it and put it away? And in so doing, might we not be causing inner turmoil in ourselves as we deny something that is really needed by our souls, minds, and hearts?
Any of us that really look inward at our spirits, our souls, know that we are not all goodness and light. We each have dark aspects and things that we hide from the world, since we have been taught that these things are bad. They are pushed away into the dark; death is considered the ultimate dark and bad circumstance. Yet many cultures do not look at death that way. They simply see death as a gateway to another life, a part of the natural cycle, the circle that never stops turning. Modern civilization has taught us to fear death, to repress any negative emotion—and therein lays the booming industry of psychiatry with therapy and Prozac. Repression of a thing is almost never good, and can perhaps lead to an eruption of our emotions and feelings, perhaps violently, as time goes by.
Listen to the words of the Dark Goddess:
Hear me child, and know Me for who I am. I have been with you since you were born, and I will stay with you until you return to Me at the final dusk. I am the passionate and seductive lover who inspires the poet to dream. I am the One who calls to you at the end of your journey. After the day is done, My children find their blessed rest in my embrace. I am the womb from which all things are born. I am the shadowy, still tomb; all things must come to Me and bare their breasts to die and be reborn to the Whole. I am the Sorceress that will not be ruled, the Weaver of Time, the Teacher of Mysteries. I snip the threads that bring my children home to me. I slit the throats of the cruel and drink the blood of the heartless. Swallow your fear and come to me, and you will discover true beauty, strength, and courage. I am the fury which rips the flesh from injustice. I am the glowing forge that transforms your inner demons into tools of power. Open yourself to my embrace and overcome. I am the glinting sword that protects you from harm. I am the crucible in which all the aspects of yourself merge together in a rainbow of union. I am the velvet depths of the night sky, the swirling mists of midnight, shrouded in mystery. I am the chrysalis in which you will face that which terrifies you and from which you will blossom forth, vibrant and renewed. Seek me at the crossroads, and you shall be transformed, for once you look upon my face, there is no return. I am the fire that kisses the shackles away. I am the cauldron in which all opposites grow to know each other in Truth. I am the web which connects all things. I am the Healer of all wounds, the Warrior who rights all wrongs in their Time. I make the weak strong. I make the arrogant humble. I raise up the oppressed and empower the disenfranchised. I am Justice tempered with Mercy. Most importantly, child, I am you. I am part of you, and I am within you. Seek me within and without, and you will be strong. Know me. Venture into the dark so that you may awaken to Balance, Illumination, and Wholeness. Take my Love with you everywhere and find the Power within to be who you wish.
And so you men don’t feel left out—and since we have both god and goddess aspects with us, the Charge of the Dark God:
Listen to the words of the Dark God, who was of old called Acheron, Chamer, Anubis, Hades, Mors, Hoder, and by many other names. I am the shadow in the bright day, I am the reminder of mortality at the height of living. I am the never-ending veil of Night where the Star Goddess dances. I am the Death that must be so that Life may continue, for behold, Life is immortal because the living must die. I am the strength that protects, that limits. I am the power that says No, No Further, and That Is Enough. I am the things that may not be spoken of, and I am the laughter at the edge of Death. Come with me into the warm enfolding dark, feel my caresses in the hands, in the mouth, in the body of one you love, and be transformed. Gather in the moonless night and speak in unknown tongues. The Dark Mother and I will listen. Sing to us and cry out and the Power will be yours to unfold. Blow me a kiss when the sky is dark, and I will smile, but no kiss returns, for my kiss is the final one for all mortal flesh.
Let’s step back to the Rede. An it harm none…but what happens when you are the one being harmed? Like any other suggestion for living—because that’s what it is, not a “Thou Shall Or Else”—the Rede actually has another part to it: “Lest in self defense it be, Ever mind the Rule of Three”. That is a very clear statement that you are indeed to do whatever it takes to protect yourself from other people’s harmful energies, emotions, behaviors and actions. Just remember that whatever method you use to stop them may be bounced back at you—and that you should be very careful about how you do stop them.
There are several methods of protection, from shielding to binding to banishment. If you want to know more about them, I would suggest Penczak’s book on protection. We aren’t going to discuss them this evening although I do know what I consider to be very powerful magick to use against someone. That is the fulfillment of this spell: that they get exactly what they deserve. In other words, the results of your incantation (thought, desire, energy) are directly related to their own energy (behavior, thoughts, whatever you want to call it). If they are being harmful, it will come back to them even more than threefold. And if they are beneficial, well then life will be lovely. Even more basic than the methods of protection is the ability to realize that there is energy that is being used in harmful ways—and that each one of you does this, intentionally or not. When William left for the Navy, I blessed him rather thoroughly—and part of the protection that I asked the Divine to place around him included blocking me if I was interfering with his destiny!
As a Pagan, you are not expected to just lie down and take whatever the world will throw at you. You are also expected to protect those who cannot protect themselves—generally children, but I would suggest that this could include those people who do not understand about psychic or magickal attacks. There are people who choose to use their own energy for harm—and like a dog with rabies, you should do what you can to prevent them from succeeding. That may include doing something that would harm them—and you know what the Rede says about that! What I’m trying to get across is that the Rede is certainly useful and is a good thing to follow when you can—but like everything else you hear and learn, you must be able to hold it against the sounding board of your own reason and determine if it is true for you in that time and in that instance.
Which, in a rather roundabout way, brings me to Kali. Poor Ma Kali, she has gotten a bad rap. In the course of preparing for this discussion, I learned things about her which make me love her. I will definitely call upon her when the situation warrants it. Kali is a Mother Goddess. Her name is from the Sanskrit word for Time—so everything about Kali is inevitable—you cannot escape the march of time. She is actually the counterpart to Shiva the Destroyer—Kali is the Goddess that will eradicate the ego and our illusory self-centered view of reality. Together they are the destroyers of unreality. She brings liberation to her children—the liberation of soul from ego and the spirit from the physical.
She helps us break away from our false concepts of reality based on our ego to enlightenment and self-awareness. Her symbols—the skirt of human arms and the skull necklace—are signs of our connection to ego through our bodies. Hello, Madison Avenue! Being attached to the physical limits us from attaining the spiritual life we should have. Once we can remove the false faces of ego, we are able to see that Kali is a mother who is overflowing with incomprehensible love for Her children.
Kali is considered to be one of the Crone Goddesses, and lines up with Hecate in ancient Greece, Eresh-Kigal in Sumeria, Morgana in Britian and Lilith in the Near East. She is also associated with the Cailleach in Ireland. The skulls that make up her necklace each have a single letter of the Sanskrit alphabet and according to the myths about her were used to “make words”—usually the myth’s way of speaking about creation. She is a warrior goddess—but is known to have killed only demons and in the protection of her children. Because Kali is a manifested aspect of the Mother Goddess, she is representative of the Cosmic Power and of the totality of the universe. She is the destroyer who makes way for creation and is therefore seen as harmonizing all pairs of opposites. Hmmm, we’re back to balance.
She symbolizes a meaningful abstract view of Hinduism, which says that creation and destruction arise from the same source. We’re also back around to the idea of darkness within our own souls—as well as the light. Kali is a Goddess who fights alone. And if she wants help, she accepts it from other females but does not seek it from men. Whenever the male Gods are unable to subdue the demons in battle, they ask the Great Mother Goddess for help and not until after she has scored a victory can they go back in peace and perform their normal godly duties. So she holds a place of very high honor among Hindus, with many temples and shrines dedicated to her.
Kali is depicted with black skin—some say to represent the womb of creation. Others suggest that she is actually an ancient African deity that was brought to India. The earliest religious figures were all female and related to fertility—and many of them were black and similar to each other, no matter what region they were found in. There are Black Goddesses all over the world and indeed, even the Christians have a Black Madonna. This would seem to imply that Kali may be the known name of the earliest deity worshipped.
If we only know Kali from statues or pictures, it is very easy to be afraid of her. As a Crone Goddess, she represents the most frightening aspects of our humanity; destruction and death, fears we have yet to face and mysteries that we have yet to know. While most of us would love to dwell in the youth and light of the Maiden and Mother Goddesses, we cannot deny the Crone’s presence. Though we may try to push her to the backs of our minds, the Crone makes herself known by emerging in the horrifying forms of our nightmares and deepest fears. But it is only because most of us dread to look her in the eyes that she emerges in such terrifying forms. If we could learn to truly face her and therefore our own dark natures, we would see that she holds within her the wisdom and strength which we need to heal ourselves emotionally and to become more spiritually complete.
Kali exemplifies the Crone—destroyer and creator, killer of our ego, the idea of “who we are” but the mother of enlightenment to our own true self. She is the mature and aged Maiden and Mother, who possesses the wisdom and experiences of youth, adulthood and old age and who stands as a bridge between death and rebirth. As a holder of the deepest mysteries, the Crone is an obvious choice for those wishing to understanding magick and ritual as well as the art of divination. The Crone knows all phases of the circle of life, death and rebirth and is therefore able to disclose that which we as mortals may not foresee and also aid in molding energy so that it may manifest into our desired goals.
Kali’s name begins with the first consonant of the Sanskrit alphabet. Tantric tradition believes that the whole universe is but an expression of certain primordial sounds or vibrations, which are expressed by the consonants and vowels of the Sanskrit alphabet, combined in different ways. “Seed syllables” (Bija Mantras), short combinations and “Spells” (Dharanis), long combinations of varying measures are the very “fabric” of which this universe is formed. Through Kali’s seed-syllables, names and potent Mantras, we can transform ourselves and become one with Her.
Kali is Sound, the sound that created the universe. All knowledge is embedded in it. Name and form changes, but sound remains. As the Mistress of Time, Kali consumes all things. Everyone must yield to her in the end. Kali confronts man with his pitiful finite attachments, devours them, and then spits them back out in a different form in a different time. It would benefit us all to explore ourselves, warts and all, and to accept the dark side of ourselves. This dark side is a necessary part of a complete and whole life. To deny it, we risk never becoming integrated, and never discovering our true and complete essence, never becoming who we are truly meant to be. Kali, or one of the other Dark Goddesses, can help in this endeavor. Do not be afraid of the dark.
Kali Meditation - The Fire
Curious, you approach a cremation pit in which the fire is still burning. A partially burned corpse lies upon a bed of glowing red-orange coals. Here the air is filled with the smell of burning flesh, burning human flesh. The fire will remove the remaining physical body. Fire is purification. Soon only the pure white bones will remain to glisten in the moonlight. Soon this skull will be liberated from the bounds of the flesh. Soon it will join the other skulls, grinning in the moonlight.
As you watch the flames, you become aware that you are not alone here. Another woman is walking here at night, here in the cremation ground. This woman is old. She walks slowly, and painfully, as if crippled with arthritis. She is clothed in a red sari with silver trim. Her unbound hair is long, and as white as the gleaming bones. She comes near you, looks carefully straight into your eyes, and she smiles radiantly. But she says nothing at all.
As you watch, she turns away from you and walks straight into the fire pit. Her bare feet step lightly over the glowing crimson coals. As she walks, her steps become less slow and painful. Her steps are sure. She reaches the very center of the fire pit.
The woman steps on to the burning body. You see her standing on the remains of the corpse. She turns back to face you. She is still smiling. She lowers herself into the lotus position and begins to meditate. The fire creeps up to her, eagerly, like fat little puppies wanting to play. Little flames begin to fondle the silver trim of her red sari. Soon the sari catches fire, and the little flames begin to dance up her body. She is still smiling, deep in meditation, deep in bliss. The flames creep higher. They ignite her flowing hair, and the pure white mass turns flaming red and orange. Flames wreathe her smiling face, for she is still smiling, still deep in unbroken meditation. Her skin begins to smoke, and to blacken. Her sari is completely consumed; she is naked under the moonlight. A black cloud of smoke settles around her head. It forms a mass of black, tangled, disheveled hair. She lifts her arms to the night sky, and you see that she has four. Each hand carries a familiar symbol: a trident, a severed head, a sword, a bowl full of blood.. As you watch, transfixed, Kali rises to her feet and dances among the flame, dancing upon the blissful, prostrate body of her husband, the Lord Shiva. Watch Kali dance. This is what you have come so far to see..
With an open hand, Kali beckons you to join her. You are drawn irresistibly to the Terrible Mother. You walk forward. Your bare foot touches a live coal. Pain shoots through your whole body. But Kali is inside you now as well as outside of you. You find that the pain does not really matter; it is only physical, only a limitation of this Earth, only one of Maya’s illusions. You take another step, and then another. You walk straight into the burning heart of the fire. Your own sari catches fire, yet your heart remains calm. Your sari burns away, and now you too are naked like Kali, free, like Kali. Your own hair catches fire, and turns into smoke. Your own skin begins to blacken. And you know.
Now you too are Kali. Know this, and dance among the flames. Dance with the Terrible Mother, here in the cremation ground.
The dance is over. Kali takes your hand, and together you walk out of the fire pit. The woman Kali is no longer old. Her steps are easy and light, no longer halting. Her hair is a glossy rich black. She is transformed into a beautiful young woman. You feel that Kali’s fire has transformed you as well. What is it that you transformed into? Do you need a mirror to see it? Then look deep into Kali Ma’s three eyes. You will see yourself mirrored within.
The Dakini Temple
You are back in the temple of Kali, back with the chanting priestesses. Your priestess motions for you to be silent, and to look around the temple. It is time for you to do pooja, which is personal worship.
You approach an image of Kali, a great bronze statue, huge, ornate, well-detailed. Kali is trimmed in gold. Her image is nearly covered with mounds of flowers left by other worshippers: red roses, scarlet hibiscus, crimson opium poppies. Brightly colored malas wreath Her image.
The air is so heavy with the scent of incense, rose, nag champa, and patchouli, that you can scarcely breath. You choose an incense, and offer it to Kali. You lay flowers at her feet, beside an ornate sword.. Kali herself is a blue so deep as to be seen as black. All of the colors of the rainbow are lost within her radiant blackness..
Her three eyes stare deeply into your spirit as you light the ghee lamp and offer the five sacred flames to the Goddess. It is said that one of Kali’s eyes gazes upon the past, her second eye gazes upon the present, and her third eye, the eye in her forehead, gazes into the future. Kali can see all time at once. Her name itself means “time”, and like time she devours all things, and yet Kali herself is timeless. She can see into your heart: how you came to be, what you are now, what you may become. She sees what part of yourself that you offer her now, as you pick up the sword of Kali and begin to dance.
Your dance done, your pooja complete, you spiral away from the center and examine the rest of the temple. You see that this is a Dakini Temple, for all around Kali, the gray stones walls are alive with dancing images of Dakinis, embodiments of female power and wisdom. The breasts and hips of the Dakinis are carved full and round. Their scupltured eyes glint, their mouths smile, their bodies seem to writhe in the fire light. There are 64 Dakinis here, each one an expression of an archetypal energy found in all women, each one found in you. You are in the Center, you _are_ the Center. The 64 Dakinis circle around you. They dance and spin around you, faster and faster still. Their forms shimmer, and become a blur. They dissolve into gray mist. The Dakini temple itself dissolves. And you yourself dissolve.