Embracing the Tiger
The Divine Feminine is often disparaged by folks with good, Christian upbringings. Referring to God as “She” in many of these houses of worship would probably result in scandal, drama–maybe even a stoning or two. If you are a woman who, like me, has felt spiritual oppression under the cultural norm of patriarchy, please come in. I’ll pour some tea and we can have a nice chat.
I started realizing that the God I connected to in my heart, my Higher Power, was too vast to be encapsulated by gender definitions. My Creator was beyond gender, or any other kind of division, and at first it just seemed that the English language was just too small and stunted to fit what I knew in my heart to be true. So I repeated God a lot in my prayers to avoid gender-based pronoun–because “it” made Creator genderless, but an object (definitely not) and “they” made it sound like I believed in more than one Source of All that Is. Problematic.
Then about 2005 I read this great book by Sue Monk Kidd called “The Dance of the Dissident Daughter”. If you haven’t read it, you really should, especially if anything I’ve said so far has piqued your interest. The book is a memoir of Kidd’s exploration of her feminine spiritual self in the midst of a patriarchal society. Its part spiritual journey, part philosophy and part message in a bottle to any woman struggling to be whole in this very male-power based society. It has been a long road in the past 10 years, winding my own way through that journey, sometimes kicking and screaming. Finally, today, I’ve come far enough along to talk about it.
As a Reiki practitioner, I have been feeling quite a pull to incorporate the essence of the Divine Feminine into my work. It all started with this vivid dream of a woman riding a powerful and sleek tiger, in a red sari bedecked with gold and jewels. Watching her ride into battle with a whole spangled retinue, I first felt sorry for the tiger and wondered why she wasn’t riding one of the horses, or an elephant. Then in my dream this strong sense of well-being filled me, and I was shown that she doesn’t force the tiger to carry her, she issues no orders. She and the tiger are a consentual and unified team.
My whole being became over-awed, and I gasped out “Wow!” (Eloquent, I know.) Then I woke, deeply moved by this powerful image, deeply moved by her incredible grace and power.
I did a little research then, and talked to some friends. Imagine my surprise when I learned her name is Durga, and that the icon depictions (see pic above) match my dream completely. I knew nothing of her, and really had never been drawn to any of the Hindu writings or stories. It got my attention.
So back I went online to learn more, and came across this great blog post that told the whole tale beautifully. I’ll let Chameli Ardagh tell you the story, because she does it so beautifully–and easy to follow and relate to for a westerner ignorant to Hindu culture.
I nosed around a bit more and was introduced to more Hindu myth and Shakti, who is the Source and Origin of all aspects of the Feminine Divine. She is the egg from which the Universe burst forth–and of course this essence would be Female, how could a masculine creator bring for anything from nothingness? This imagery makes a lot of sense to me, and as I have explored it, I have found my use of Reiki, my connection to the world around me, my compassion all expanding and growing exponentially.
What I have learned is that I do not need to be a dissident daughter any longer. My feminine self is well cared for and supported in this new way of viewing the Source that has always been in my heart. I can now ride the tiger with ease, relaxing into the challenges of my life, assured that any confrontation I meet can be swiftly and easily answered. The largest gift has been to realize that where Masculine Divine energy is powerful and specific in response, Feminine Divine energy prefers to remain undefined.
Perhaps this is why this view of Source frightens so many who wish to maintain the status quo. By remaining undefined, Feminine Source remains pure potential, able to manifest anything that is needed the moment it is needed. I think this may be why Durga is depicted with so many weapons in so many hands. All women are potential. It is how we create. It is how we bring life into the world from the depths of our bodies, we connect to that awesome potential and give it the freedom to come forth. We feed it through our blood. We nourish it with our breasts. We turn that life out onto the world with all the dreams of all potential, feeding and nourishing and hoping for the best.
Is that not what Source has done for us? Free will makes teenagers of us all.
There comes a time when we must stand on our own and exercise our will. It is odd to think of, but I realize now that in all my 48 rebellious and iconoclastic years, I have never really claimed my soul as my own. There was always a role to play as good girl, daughter, wife, mother, and patriarchy was only too glad to tell me my ideas about those things didn’t matter much. Contemplating Durga has led me to claim my own power–relaxed, confident, secure. Confrontation does not strike paralyzing fear in my heart, as the patriarchy taught me. Now I live in the infinite potential that my response will be appropriate for me because I live in my own soul, nurtured by the Feminine Divine.
There is a quote from the Dissident Daughter I want to leave you with:
“A ‘woman on the loose’ is a woman who leaves the woods where she has been growing strong all these years. She swoops out of trees, ringing her bell. She is saying, I am here now. And I am not going away.
The motto that the women on the loose adopted is: ‘To improvise, surprise, and come uninvited.”
This is the essence of femininity. To live in the moment, confident that right action will arise from resourcefulness and the infinite potential of her Divine Power. She doesn’t need permission from the patriarchy. She needs no approval either. And this is precisely why the patriarchy fears her, and why women have become targets of those seeking to maintain current power structures at all costs.
Why am I writing this to you on an autism blog? Because I think it is time we all connected more deeply with our own Feminine Divine Source. You don’t have to be a woman to do so. If we want to heal the earth, heal ourselves, heal those around us of the wounds of our time, then it is time to embrace Holy Potential. Improvise. Surprise. Come uninvited. Ringing a bell and riding a tiger.