The Tantric Goddesses Are a Spectrum and So Are You

April 9, 2023 |

Tantric Goddesses

If you’re a modern yogi, particularly if you’re a woman, you’ve probably encountered some kind of meme, or instagram post, or discussion about ‘goddesses’ or ‘goddess energy’ or something like that. I imagine, encountering that, you’ve had one of two reactions. Either: ‘Woohoo! I’m a big fan of the goddesses and I’m totally here for this’, or ‘[eye roll] This hippy stuff is weird and boring’.

So why don’t we explore them a little bit, and do it in a way that honours, rather than trivialises them by dismissing them outright or by simplifying them in a way that turns them into candy (rather than something of true substance).

In the west, when we hear the word ‘goddess’, it’s easy to lean on stereotypes. Either we associate them with formal religion (probably Hinduism) and assume we’re meant to buy literally into the idea that there is a merry band of deities frolicking in a spirit realm controlling our lives, or we associate talk of the goddesses with the new age ‘feminine flow’ thing that’s popular at the moment.

The truth is, from the traditional Tantric perspective, neither of these is quite true. The Tantric tradition is full of mythology and symbolism. To understand this symbolism, we first need to understand that, from the Tantric perspective, everything exists on – and is an expression of – a cosmos-wide spectrum of consciousness and energy.

Contained within this spectrum is, well, everything. Because it’s a spectrum, it ranges from the lightest of the light to the darkest of the dark, from the serene and transcendent to the chaotic and wild. You, as part of this spectrum, are an expression of that same melding of consciousness and energy and contain the full spectrum of its potential within you too.

All of this is quite abstract though, right? That’s why the mythology exists: to weave these ideas, and the possibility for this spectrum of experience, into stories (about the gods and goddesses) to make the whole thing more tangible.

The way this happens is that the gods are allegories for (the different parts of) consciousness and the goddesses are allegories for different aspects of energy. Their myths are ways of communicating about consciousness and energy using symbolism that explains a small part of the universe, and a small part of us.

Perhaps this is all the goddesses will ever be for you (which is totally fine, by the way). On a subtler level, though, the ‘goddesses’ exist in the world as impersonal energies flowing through us, and through society, nature and spiritual practice. If we come to understand them more fully that way, and learn how to harness those energies, we might:

A) Recognise when a particular energy is moving through us (as anger or fear or excitement or hope) and, understanding it as an energy that flows through everything, helping us take the experience a little less personally.

B) Actively explore, or harness, these energies for our growth.

Let me give you an example. Kali is a popular goddess, particularly in the West. What does Kali represent? The energy of swift transformation. Kali is often depicted as a violent goddess because her brand of transformation can feel quite destabilising. Ultimately, though, she’s a positive force, encouraging quick (and usually very necessary) change in our life.

To make this more tangible, think about a time something devastating happened. You lost your job, the stock market crashed, or perhaps your partner left you. All of these events could feel catastrophic in the moment. Often, though, looking back on these events, we see them a turning points in our lives. They forced us in a direction we’d have never have chosen on our own though, in hindsight, we absolutely needed the redirect.

This is Kali! Goddess of swift, seemingly violent change, which transforms us for the better. Equally, we might identify her in nature, as a clap of thunder or a flash of lightning. Or, in society, as a revolution.

Obviously she is a strong energy, but there are also ‘sweet’ goddesses and ‘peaceful’ goddesses and ‘sexual’ goddesses and ‘restrained’ goddesses because (as we’ve established) energy is a spectrum. You are also a spectrum, which means you have all of the goddesses (aka expressions of energy) within you as well.

Want to learn more? Why don’t you add yourself to the waiting list for information about my online course Heroine: Shadow and Light in the Faces of the Divine Feminine.

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