Shakti is a Hindu goddess, but she is more than a figure of divinity. Shakti is the embodiment of cosmic energy that flows through the universe. Shakti is the source of creation, change, and destruction. She takes the form of other goddesses–Parvati, Durga, and Kali–but is also an energetic force within every Hindu deity. Shakti is the divine feminine. She is the mother of all; a powerful source of life, energy, creativity, and transformation.
I am not a Hindu. Nor am I an expert in world religions. All I know is that this concept of the divine feminine fascinates me and speaks to something I understand at a profound spiritual level. Call it Shakti, Source, Spirit, God, whatever. I believe there is an energy, a cosmic force that moves within and connects all living things. In my mind, this force is genderless, or all genders at once. But we connect to different aspects depending on our personal and collective experience.
In other words, there are “feminine” aspects (yin) and “masculine” aspects (yang) that are really just part of the same energy that flows through everyone. Whether we’re physically male or female is irrelevant. We all possess both feminine and masculine aspects. Since societies are nothing more than the collective experience of individuals, then our societies also possess these aspects. Since women (the physical embodiment of yin/feminine energy) have been commonly perceived as inferior and actively oppressed, our societies have put forth an abundance of yang/masculine energy. I believe that this imbalance has resulted in social sickness that causes unnecessary division, fear, anxiety, discontent, and unhappiness.
I know this is all very esoteric and some people reading this are probably rolling their eyes, but stay with me. People have been desperately seeking Shakti, which is to say they’ve been craving a rise of feminine power. Consider the popularity and influence of the women’s marches, Pansuit Nation, #metoo, and Time’s Up. These are all examples of individuals calling in the feminine, causing these movements to manifest in our collective experience. Some feminists will argue that it’s time for women to take over world leadership. I certainly agree that it’s time for women to step into power and shift the course of our collective experience. However, I disagree with the idea that the feminine should dominate. This will only result in different sickness. My sincere hope is that we can strike the proper balance.
That being said, since there is such abundance of masculine energy in the world today, striking balance requires uplifting the feminine. Personally, I think it’s a waste of time to argue whether or not Aziz Ansari is guilty of sexual misconduct or to discuss if Oprah Winfrey should run for President. Have those conversations if you like, but understand that they’re not necessarily inciting meaningful transformation. I think energy is better spent in self exploration and conscious awareness of collective manifestation. Take a moment to consider feminine/yin energy as well as masculine/yang energy. Think of these in terms of your personal life and experience. Where are you feeling an imbalance? What energy do you need more or less of? What can you do to achieve balance within yourself? I truly believe that if more people strike this balance individually, we will see the results collectively. It is also helpful to examine social trends to identify areas/instances of imbalance. What can YOU do to bring balance to that? For example, rather than contemplate Ansari’s potential wrongdoing or Oprah’s leadership, consider the underlying forces at play. Why are people discussing these things? How are they feeling? What are they craving? What are they sick of? Consider what you can do to bring balance. For example, cue into your lover’s experience and check in on how they’re feeling. Identify the qualities you think would make Oprah a good political candidate and demonstrate those qualities in your own life. That’s how we create real change.
Feminine/Yin energy is:
Associated with water & air
Represented by the moon
Feminine/Yin imbalance may cause:
Inability to concentrate
Difficulty finding the right words
Inefficiency, lack of initiative
Lack of abundance/prosperity
Masculine/Yang energy is:
Associated with Earth &Fire
Represented by the sun
Masculine/Yang imbalance may cause:
Feeling hyper/amped up
Inability to collaborate/compromise
So what are some methods of self exploration or ways to work with these forces in your own life? Here are a few suggestions:
- Make art that explores each energy (collage provides a simple, fun and easy medium, but any method you like is fine)
- Write it out: explore your experiences and observations through poetry, fiction, stream of consciousness, journaling…
- Talk it out: explore your personal or social observations through conversation.
- Listen to or make music: either to balance whatever is in excess by engaging with the opposite energy, or to move through the excess by engaging consciously with that energy (for example, sometimes it can be helpful to work though anger or aggression by working out to loud/intense music, other times you may need to lay down and listen to something relaxing)
- Meditate: you can focus on an image or element (ie: set a bowl of water or a candle in front of you) or cue into your emotions or physical sensations
- Exercise: do yoga, go for a run, cycle, lift weights… whatever it is, consciously connect to what you’re calling in or releasing.
- Breathe: the most direct route to the divine is through your breath. Take long, deep, slow breaths to activate yin energy. Take short, rapid, shallow breaths to activate yang energy.
- Eat specific food: Ice cream, cold beverages, salads, etc. activate yin. Hot or spicy foods activate yang.
We’re beginning to feel the rumble and quake of tired, old constructs moving and shifting. Shakti is activated and striving to guide us toward a balanced state of being. When you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, or angry remember that everything is a part of this awakening. Cue in and connect to the process within yourself and trust that in so doing you are implementing powerful and lasting transformation.
Adina Arden Cooper
I'm a lover, a guide, a supportive companion. A storyteller, an artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals thrive and communities come together through counseling, coaching, and community building. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.