How to Create a Living Altar to the Dark Goddess

Categories: Articles,The Sha'can Tradition

By: Chandra Alexandre


Many practitioners are afraid of dark goddess energies. Divinities such as Hecate, The Morrigan, Freya, Gran Brijit, Kali, Lilith, Oya and others prove frightening, leaving many without recourse to some powerful help, especially in times of challenge or crisis. Even the most seasoned among us can fear working with these goddesses. Why is that, and how can we create a safe space in which to work with Her and the potent energy she carries? (In my writing, I intentionally alternate capitalization on words such as goddess and dark goddess. I also oscillate between capitalization on pronouns that refer to her, doing so in order to convey that part of Her grace and mystery lies outside the conventions of language as related to gender and personifications of deity through language.)

In this article, my goal is to help you activate your personal crafting with the Dark Goddess, however you choose to name Her. Overall, what I offer is designed to help you discern and strengthen your pathway to Her embrace, helping you gain a solid foundation for exploration of the mysteries. Of course, the Mystery is still the Mystery, and we call on Her knowing that Her response may be appropriately intense or sublime, subtle or sweet. Even if she has not yet appeared in your spiritual purview, may this article whet your appetite for engagement with the delicious and difficult work She inspires!

Who is She?

The Dark Goddess embraces everything. Her power—and why so many spiritual practitioners avoid her—tends to lie in our fear of the unknown. And this is not only our individual, personal fear, but also our collective, societal, and cultural fear. The magnitude of her power lies in her claim to what we ignore. When we look at the Dark Goddess, we see whatever we wish to keep out of awareness. Yet, she does not hold back Truth, and for this, we are often terrified of Her. What might she reveal?

Darkness, indeed, is a metaphor for a deeper truth. Life, we know, is filled with beauty and pain, ecstasy and horror. Look at Kali, for example, Hindu Black Goddess, Devourer of Time. With her right two hands she presents mudras (hand gestures) signifying the granting of boons and blessings, and with her left two hands she holds a severed head and a machete. To look upon her, we in the developed world might wonder how to achieve the benefits and avoid the blood and gore. But Her revelation lies in and through the acceptance of her totality—for the blade and head are in truth the goddess offering the promise of detachment and release from the constraints of our egos and limitedness. To take only half of Her then, is to miss the whole point.

One Response to "How to Create a Living Altar to the Dark Goddess"

  1. Sri Posted on 12/25/2015 at 6:47 pm

    oh my goodness this just belssed me so much. it’s true that we sometimes underestimate what a simple & heartfelt prayer can do. God is so faithful to give us beyond our wildest imagination & having a couple express such genuine thankfulness for this just melted my heart. thank you for sharing this such a beautiful image.

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