Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fierce Feminine

 As a devotee and teacher of yoga I have studied the culture, philosophy and religion associated with the practice (important to remember that yoga itself subscribes to no religion but being from India has strong Hindu associations). Although I do not call myself a Hindu, I am actually a universalist yogini, I find the Hindu deities and the stories of those deities fascinating and powerful. I see them as archetypes or symbols of the divine qualities that permeate the universe, including each one of us.

 I love that Hinduism is so very inclusive, the divine is kind, fierce, loving, violent, creative, destructive, light and dark, masculine as well as feminine. In this paradigm nothing is outside of God, nothing is separate from God or Goddess. Oh yeah right, Goddess. Hinduism includes various goddesses in its rich banquet.

Right now in India the festival of Navratri is in full swing. Navratri means "nine nights" and it is a celebration of the divine feminine. It focuses on Durga in particular, who is fierce and mighty. She is known as "the vanquisher of evil" and she is invincible. Durga is depicted with up to eight or ten arms each wielding a weapon gifted to her by a god. She rides on the back of a lion. She is a courageous warrior who does not hesitate in battle. She destroys her enemy with determination. Durga is the champion of courage and compassion. She fights for peace and defeats fear.

The fierce feminine! I will joyfully get on board for this celebration! We need a Durga injection right about now, a Durga revolution as far as I am concerned.

So in this auspicious time of honoring Durga I pray.

I pray to Durga and all divine source that moves through this universe for my sisterhood.

I pray for a world free of rape, battery, and assault. I pray for a world where female castration is a long forgotten barbarian brutality. I pray for a world without human trafficking and sex slavery. I pray for an end to women being treated like property; misused, abused, unjustly punished, cast away or killed for her very victimization.

I pray to live in a country where my daughters will have equal opportunity and equal pay to my son. I pray to live in a country where equal pay for equal work is not something we even have to debate or discuss, it just is!

I pray to live in a country where my body is not a political punching bag, a novelty to be exploited or legislated. I pray to live in a country where my leaders don't consider vagina a dirty or offensive word, and instead remember that it is in fact the very sacred channel that brought them into this world.

I pray to be recognized as a being that knows what is best for my body, my health, and my life.

I am tired of a nation that supposedly stands for liberty and justice for all, but where the political powers insist on speaking about women like we aren't even in the room.

I am tired of women being shamed instead of honored.

We women must fight this battle though, we can't wait for someone to fight it for us. We have to channel our inner Durga and speak up with voices ,votes and continued action. We have to commit to our cause and with great courage and determination continue to act regardless of immediate or even long term outcome. That is to refuse defeat, to be steadfast and strong.

And that women, we are!!  We can change ourselves, our country and the world.    

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