Shakti, the Divine Feminine Power
Shakti, the Divine Feminine Power
As a teacher of Women’s Circles and Tantric Practices I talk a lot about the Divine Feminine energy in ourselves and in the Universe. Here in this interview by Kristina Ioannou for Australian Natural Health magazine I go in to more depth on the subject.
What is Shakti?
Shakti is the word used to describe the feminine principle energy in the universe. The feminine is always in balance with the masculine- and so it is necessary to describe the masculine which is known as Shiva. Shiva is all that is formless in the Universe, such as thought and consciousness. Everything else that we experience is Shakti. It is that dynamic universal energy that creates form. Shiva and Shakti are known as the cosmic couple and are often shown seated together in spiritual ecstasy as they symbolise the union of consciousness and energy. This is nirvana.
Shakti is the part of your practice and your life that you can FEEL. It's the Energy, the Fire, the Power. It's the tingling in your arms and the beating of your heart that reminds you that you're alive. It's the spark in the eye of the person you are gazing at. It is the creative force behind all things.
Shakti is also the cycle of life, death and life, that endless and unfolding rhythm of creation, sustenance and destruction that exists in all things and also in our lives! It is energy and life force in all of it's forms.
“Shakti is the part of the Universe that we experience, feel and connect with. All that we can see, hear, smell, taste and feel is the Divine Feminine. The wind in our hair, the baby we birth, our lovers breath, it's all Shakti.”
What is Shiva energy and how does this relate to Shakti?
Shiva is the Divine Feminine and the formless aspect of Divine Consciousness. I feel Shiva energy as the moment of no thought, the blank, the space between breaths. So if Shiva is the formless, Shakti is everything else. Shiva is the space of pure potential where all things can manifest, and Shakti is all that manifests. So when you move into meditation and find stillness you are accessing Shiva Consciousness. In this space you can drop in a thought, an intention, a visualisation, this is accessing Shakti consciousness, and the best way to manifest your desires!
Why is this facet of the Divine Feminine so important?
Honouring Shakti is so important in this moment in time because it acknowledges the Feminine principle as being the primary aspect of Divinity that we experience. As a woman who grew up with Christian religious which skew towards a masculine divinity, I find this so liberating!
Women are at the forefront of spiritual development right now, we are the ones primarily practicing yoga, teaching meditation and holding space for people on the path of light. So it's empowering for a woman to understand the Divine as being feminine.
How can we invoke Shakti in both the business and the hum-drum of everyday life?
Firstly, we can live our lives fully, experience all of what it is to be human. We can allow ourselves to feel the highs, the lows and experience it all and be present to it.
When things start to feel 'hum drum' it's because we are not stepping into the sacred. This is what I am always hoping to create for my students, a moment of ritual, a reminder that we are divine beings in human form. Here to experience, but also remember just how magical and eternal we are.
Ritual doesn’t have to be complicated. You can create this in your day by lighting a candle and some incense in the morning and taking just 5 minutes to sit, meditate.
Other ideas for creating a sacred ritual around Shakti include:
- Creating a list of what you are grateful for,
- Setting the intention to be aware of the beauty and the magic that exists in your life for an entire day.
- I like to consecrate- this is a Tantric practice of offering the karmic fruits of my actions every day to the Divine. The power of consecration and prayer is subtle but immense- it makes my life feel so magic- and it takes just a couple of minutes.
Other ways to awaken Shakti in a more primal and physical way include:
- Shaking and dancing
- Strong and intense pranayama
- Movement practices that allow you to feel connected to the beauty of your body
- Being wild and free in nature
- Getting naked, making love... basically by feeling into the essence of what it is to alive, free and wild.
How can we invoke Shakti in our diet?
A shaktified diet is just like a Shaktified Woman! It's alive, it's vibrant its bright. It's wholesome and loving, full and generous. Food is such an important part of ceremony and it can be made sacred too. On retreat we chant before every meal, it becomes an offering of appreciation. Chanting before a meal is not only an act of reiki which energises our food, but also I find I immediately slow down when I eat and I am more mindful.
What are some easy ways the modern day woman can align with Shakti?
When I am feeling negative or stressed, I choose to look around me and see the world with 'Lakshmi eyes'. Lakshmi is one aspect of the Divine Feminine, described as a ‘Goddess’. She is the Goddess of Beauty and abundance, so in moments of grey in my life, I look for this around me. When stuck in traffic, rather than glaring at cars and pollution, I see Shakti. I see her in the clouds in the sky, watching the breeze across the grass on the nature strip. Suddenly I notice life all around me.
I think that all of these things are small practical ways to create shifts in your state of mind. Finding beauty, finding connection, finding love in unexpected situations. It isn't always easy to do this though. But in the tough times, I feel supported by the thought that it was only through struggle that every enlightened being found nirvana. It's working through the hard times that provides the greatest spiritual growth.
Can you discuss Shakti energy in relation to Kundalini yoga?
One of the many forms of Shakti energy is called Kundalini Shakti. Kundalini Shakti resides in the base of your spine and when awakened, (usually through yogic or spiritual practises) it can lead to intense and powerful spiritual awakening.
Kundalini Yoga is a trademarked style of yoga by a teacher called Yogi Bhajan that uses yogic kriya (repetitive breath and movement practises) to help you to activate a sensation or awareness of an elevated state of being associated with kundalini awakening. Kundalini yoga is a beautiful style of yoga that can be used as part of a holistic practise to help you to awaken this (extremely) powerful energy.
Do you have a Shakti meditation or visualisations you can recommend?
There are so many- it's basically all of the work that i do! I find that Pranayama (breath work) is the easiest way to connect to and control my energy. It is so powerful when you practice pranayama before meditation, it creates an effortless connection to your own internal spark.