A Note on Appropriations

Some of you may be wondering, “What is a skinny, white-skinned, American woman doing writing a blog about Kali Ma?”  Although others of you may not have actually noticed that the author is a ‘skinny, white-skinned American woman’, the cat is now thoroughly out of the bag, and frankly, the cat is happier out than in because it is very a good question.

Kali with Shiva

In the West in general, and in the United States in particular, the majority of our Indigenous traditions have been destroyed.  The result is that most of us no longer know the songs and stories, the myths and archetypes, the magical and healing traditions of our own people.  Consequently, people experience a certain loss of ground.  The tendency, then, is for Westerners in general, and North Americans in particular, to attach ourselves rather aggressively and insensitively to the spiritual traditions of other cultures in an attempt to regain a sense of grounded belonging.  While there is nothing wrong with learning from those who have come before us– quite to the contrary, the ancestors  lead;  we follow in their footsteps– there is a real problem with appropriating the cultures and traditions of other people’s ancestors rather than seeking to reconnect with, or gain deeper knowledge of, our own.

From the point of view of the most cutting-edge thinkers in the recovery of Indigenous Mind movement, this appropriation, far from being innocuous, is actually an insidious form of colonialism and imperialism.  Taking what is not ours to take, is a deep and difficult habit to overcome for those of us who have been raised with the imprints of entitlement.  When the imprints of entitlement are cultural, the entire process is normalized and becomes even more challenging to recognize and overcome.

The author, therefore, treads carefully here, and with great respect, for Kali is what we have left of the Complete Mother in this world.  Not just in the West, but nearly everywhere, the traditions of the Great Mother have been decimated to the extent that a complete, intact archetype of the Divine Mother is virtually inaccessible.  All across human civilization, the Mother and the Lover are rent, the Mother and the Warrior are rent, and the Mother of Life has become a separate archetype from the Mother of Death.  Kali Ma is whole.  Born from Durga’s third eye, fully armed to defeat a legion of demons, Kali is the eternal consort and passionate  lover of Shiva.  She makes love to him, eviscerates and devours him, and then fucks him back to life again.  And Shiva remains in total devotion and complete surrender.  He knows that She, like Nature itself, is as tender as She is fierce, and he never forgets  Her heart, the wellspring of Infinite Compassion.

Amazing to have Her, still, in this world, to learn from Her, and to contemplate that at one time all of our ancestors knew and celebrated some form of this integrated and complete Divine Feminine force.

And possibly, in this contemplation, we can reconnect, through Kali Ma, to the Mother of our own ancestors.  Find our way back… to the beginning.  And as She opens Her secrets to us, as the heart opens and all Life awakens within us, we can listen, back to the beginning, to the songs and stories which have been lost from ordinary time forever but which live eternally in the realms of the heart.

It is all One Mother, All One Being, All awaiting our Remembrance..

For further study:

For more on Indigenous Mind and modern spiritual practice, see Murshida VA’s interview with Roth Conrad of AmericanSafari.org:


And these articles:


On Unveiling the Mother

Black Kali
Black Kali

There is an amazing muck storm which arises when the Mother comes out from behind Her veil. 

Every place we feel tender, broken, inadequate, phony, false or small… it all seems magnified.  The less mature of us lose control of our emotions, fly into rage or curl up around fear.  The more mature pause to reflect on the morass within, knowing that whatever we witness in the outer world, it is only a mirror of ourselves.   

And then, of course, there is the political (or trans-personal) aspect of the Shadow:  six thousand years of oppression, torture, rape, mutilation, imprisonment, stoning, burning, crucifixion.  Those terrors can also arise suddenly.  And one can be on either side of the equation, or both sides at once, and still be completely overwhelmed by the force of the inner darkness of humanity.

All of this arises when the Mother takes off Her veil. 

And although it may seem a great rock has moved away to expose an unimaginable host of creepy crawlies to the sun, Kali’s darkness is the birthplace of wisdom, the seed bed of belonging and the key to who and what we really are. 

For it is simply true:  we cannot know ourselves, as individuals or as a humanity, until we face, with utter fearlessness and relentless compassion, all of the darkness within us.  From pathetic neurosis and petty selfishness to obession and paranoia to sadistic violence and consciously perpetuated evil, the entire spectrum of darkness is us.  It is us. 

Just as the magnificence and the and beauty is us.  It is all us. 

This is what it means to love ourselves completely.  This is the path to wholeness. 

What She represents for humanity, as a archetype, what She holds, is the opening through which we come into being and the accomodation through which we are empowered to shine the light of awareness upon ourselves, knowing all of what we are as utterly and completely loved, accepted and forgiven.

And perhaps, one  day, when we have embodied Her teaching, there will be no more need for the outcasts, no more need for the outliers in either direction, no more need for criminals or Saints, for we will finally know, into the marrow of our bones, that the entire spectrum of experience is simply…  human.


Traditional Kali Ma retrieved from http://thealmightydonjai.wordpress.com/2008/10/26/kali-ma/  Thank you!