Dark Times, Divali, & Dancing the Spiral

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On Sunday morning, I awoke from Samhain dreamtime to a recollection that I had something to do. Still feeling the presence of the ancients and moreover, some very achy muscles from a few good hours of altar building for SHARANYA’s Spiral Dance South Fire Altar, I reviewed my notes for the day ahead. Ah, yes, Creatrix Media Live was hosting a show and had asked me to help focus a discussion on the Dark Times…specifically, these dark times.

What is conjured for you in this mentioning?

We considered much in our conversation, but naturally, the conversation turned toward the presence of the Dark Mother Herself, Kali Maa. Kali Maa as embracing and compassionate mother; Kali Maa as terrifying goddess; Kali Maa as equalizer, facilitator of social justice; Kali Maa as Goddess for our times. Joining the discussion were many powerful women (Max Dashu, D’vorah Grenn, Marsha Citra Lange, Jayne DeMente, Anniitra Ravenmoon and others) who know well how She helps us see through the obfuscations of truth that media and institutions uphold, who asks that we take personal responsibility, who calls us to action. We acknowledged the quick and ready relationship between our spirituality, Her presence, and action on behalf of the marginal–even when (and sometimes especially when) that marginal is to be found within ourselves.

At this time of the year, when so many are aware of how the darkness of the shortened days reflects our inward turning and the metaphorical darkness to be engaged in the recesses of our souls, we also recognize the power of just one small ray of light to illuminate the world. This is the story of Divali, the Festival of Lights for many in South Asia. And those at Reclaiming’s Spiral Dance at the Witches’ New Year this past night danced this dance of darkness and light, of inward turning and outward expression, and did so joyously and with great, passionate energy. This passionate energy was contained too in the south altar SHARANYA built and charged singing Maa’s names. This sacred space held the potency of Shmashan Kali, Goddess of Cremation Grounds, She Who Burns Away. The process of letting go, of surrendering, of falling into oneself so that one may be propelled by the heart’s yearning for love back into this reality, was our prayer for all gathered.

Later on New Year’s Day, Satya, Haravallabha and I came together in community to offer up all the prayers gathered from our Shmashan Kali altar that visitors and devotees had contributed on pink slips of paper to our cauldron…and there were plenty to burn! Sitting around a fire, we chanted OM KRIM KALYAI NAMAH and brought each to our heart in turn, asking that the Divine Mother hear their prayers and be with them in this time, whatever that might hold for each person. The work completed, we consecrated the energy of our personal invocations and the transformational power of the fire by placing some of the ashes on our foreheads. Our right thumbs making the tilak, we spoke the blessing and gratitude, Jai Maa!

With all we have raised this weekend through song, dance, and collective wisdom, I invite us to honor that energy of darkness, of transformational power, and of personal ego surrendered to the Divine Will…that it be held continuously and reinvoked as we deal with our individual and collective Dark Nights of the Soul, and as we travel willingly or are spurred on by crisis, into Her embrace.

Happy New Year – May the Blessings of Goddess be forever in your heart!

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