Article from the SOYA Archives, submitted by Latika Pierrette Claude, SOYA500.
Seeing the Goddess Qualities Within
Have you ever wondered where your unique traits, talents, even darker qualities were coming from? What is it that makes you want to paint, to dance, to bake a special cake? What is it that makes you explode in a fiery tantrum or regretfully snipe at your partner? What is your ego expression; what is the force, the pulsating energy that color all of your experiences? Would you like to harness this very special energy to cultivate certain gifts, talents, qualities?
The myths of the Hindu goddesses began appearing in the yogic tradition called Tantra around the 6th century (CE). Tantra’s teachings, extremely relevant today, help us realize that it is the divine energy Shakti that fills the world. Moreover, in Tantra, women are the earthly container of this intense form of sacred energy.
Tantra embraces reality in all its beauty and horror: all is part of the divine tapestry, many expressions of the different aspects of the goddess. By studying and immersing oneself into the many alluring incarnations of the divine mother, we may start to understand and better accept what constitute our own individual characters and personalities.
The Many Qualities of the Goddesses
The energy of the goddess may express itself as your strong will, your motherly instincts, your talent at managing money. Once you connect to a goddess, you will realize that certain of your traits, skills and talents are her manifestation, even her gifts. But more to the point: the goddess can give you access to part of yourself that are unfamiliar and helpful.
If most of us hold the energies of different goddesses, one or two of them usually predominate. Are you the perennial protectrice, aware of social injustices; does your family and friends find you “bossy” at times, do you like to be in charge; are you a multitasker, are you a leader? Then Durga is the goddess that carries these energies in you.
An even more assertive form of the goddess is Kali. You may have so much raw power and energy, you can accomplish anything you want; you have the ability to transform people that connect with you; you often feel that you have to hold back, you love fiercely. Do you sometime frighten yourself or people with your intensity? That would be Kali expressing herself in you.
You may attract people by your good looks, your charisma, your talents in fashion, decoration, in design. Money has never been a problem for you, it is always there when you need it. Do you love a good time, avoid anything unpleasant; are you a good gardener, are you generous, kind? Well, Lakshmi might be your primary goddess.
If you are a gifted speaker or have the tendency to talk too much; if you are detail oriented, even a nitpicker; if you have talent in writing, in music; if understanding technology comes easily to you, then you are an expression of Saraswati.
Open Yourself the Gifts of the Goddess
Can you recognize some of these traits in yourself and in others, how is society accepting of these qualities, what qualities are appreciated, which ones are deemed unfeminine, even denied? Tantra gave us wonderful tools to steer us on the path of discovery, three forms in particular through which the goddess can be engaged: the image representing the deity in painting and statues, the practice of meditation with mantra and meditation with a geometric pattern called yantra. Each of these forms, according to Tantric sages contains the energy of the deity.
Invoking the goddess in each of these forms will open your heart to unexpected gifts; unveiling her presence within you and outside you, she will surprise you, disturb you, she will love you. She will show you how the manifestation of her Shakti can awaken you to the divine presence within yourself. The study of the goddess will certainly bring you closer to the goal of yoga, union with the One That Is and always has been within your own heart. Let the goddess open the door for you. You can soon enter the abode of love, peace and joy and become fully present to all the extraordinary manifestations of Shakti that also surround you.