Of Garbage and Rebirth

All my life I’ve known some form of magick. Even though I had no idea what that meant. Things I overheard while at the kitchen table helping the adults make Puerto Rican dishes every weekend. From family involved in Santeria; a Shaman maternal great grandfather, a powerful paternal grandmother (who tried to kill me at the age of 5), my Mami who read people from toe-to-head, never the other way around. My childhood was filled with magick. And yet I struggled from early on for the recognition of Elders in Santeria. I wanted that moment of acknowledgement to confirm for myself and others that I was indeed, gifted in ways I couldn’t even begin to explain. There are memories that live inside me that are such a mystery, I’ve given up trying to figure them out and simply accepted them.

I was never initiated into anything my family was a part of. Mami wouldn’t allow it, telling me I had plenty of time to decide my path. So it was to her that I would tell my prophetic dreams to, but not the endless nightmares. It was her that I would tell who would be dying soon when the acrid smell and taste of death permeated the air and my food. It was her that I would tell the secrets the Orisha statues would tell me. But I would also listen to the advice she would tell those who came to her and kept a mental Book of Shadows written in my Mami’s voice, which I still hear even now, five years after her passing.

I would write things down in pencil on small pieces of brown paper torn from the bodega paper bags and stuff them in my shoes. Forgetting about them for as long as I had the shoes. I played with candles, I created spells, I played with fire – a lot of fire; called to the wind and the birds. I watched my Mami do workings for others, always listening intently to her warnings and instructions. I read all of my Papi’s books on symbolism and numbers in dreams, my Mami’s books on numerology, palmistry, even her book on Nostradamus. She taught me to read the Spanish tarot cards. And yet, I still longed for what would make me different but mostly, accepted. Truthfully and perhaps selfishly, I wanted to be honored, heard, and loved.

I often look back on my life, especially after learning about past lives and how they can affect our current life, and I’ve seen some patterns repeat over and over but none so much as suffering and loneliness. I’ve searched for the remedy to both to no avail. It was only after meeting the man I decided would become my Godfather in Santeria, that I learned of my path; I’m a daughter of Oshun, which surprised me, and one of the avatars of her path is called, Oshun Ibu Kole. He told me it was the path of the vulture goddess and to research it. He explained how this particular avatar was one of a beautiful Oshun who had the ear of Olodumare and other Orishas and yet fell so far down that she was often seen rolling around in the mud; dirty and in misery. She sacrificed herself for humanity and was left to pick up what she could to survive. He compared it to what I’d been through in life; I gave and gave and was always the one left behind to suffer and pick from what was leftover. This Oshun was powerful and honored because of her sacrifice. The vultures were her messengers. There’s also a story I’ve heard since finding out about this path, that says if one is ever out and gets lost in the wilderness or the desert and sees vultures looming and gathering overhead ready to pick at the carcass, they are to shake their arms or dance so that the vultures know they aren’t dead yet.

No one wants suffering and loneliness.

No one wants to struggle and feel as though they are alone in this world and on this path.

And yet I see the path of where I’ve been so clearly now.

The cycle of garbage and rebirth.

And maybe that’s why I’ve always danced.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: The Kali Principle

Kali

Image Source: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

“Time, for example, is intimately connected with the goddess Kali, which partly accounts for her destructive nature. Energy – in Einstein’s equation, E=MC2 – is personified in India as Shakti in her various guises.”

Roger Housden

It has been nearly 6 years since Shiva and his dance of destruction entered my life leaving the scattered remains of what was in His wake.

One strange, madness filled summer evening I heard his call and felt his presence; it was undeniable and intoxicating. He appeared at a time when I only related to or saw myself in Masculine or Daemonic deities/energies/archetypes.

For some reason, how I viewed myself (rage filled, rebellious and dark) was synonymous with Masculine (Yang) energy.

Eastern Philosophy has always, always been my main source of study (Yes. I mean all of it; I devour as much as I can.)

Throughout my studying Hinduism, oddly more so than Buddhism (which would seem more in line with the LHP) has become a passion of mine, and a Pantheon (and culture) that have become cornerstones of my personal Philosophy and practice as a Witch.

Lord Ganesha, Shiva’s elephant headed son and the remover of obstacles had been present and active in my life a few years beforehand and even still today; in hindsight He was preparing the path for Shiva.

Shiva was preparing the path for Kali.

Though, she needs no help in that department.

Asteroid

 

I had known Feminine energy because of Hekate and Lilith, but again, when I thought of myself, my rage, my aggression, my fiery passion, and quick temper, it all seemed to be the antithesis of what it meant to be Feminine.

At the time I didn’t see myself as being a balanced, or even fluid individual; I was all rage.

My most natural emotion.

For clarity sake, I am not referring to gender identity. I have always identified as a Woman, but the images society portrayed were nothing like myself; I know many, many Women (and people) can relate to this.

I was one of those “too much” Women.

Which is crazy to think about because I struggled for a long time to take up space, until one day I realized I take up space in this world without trying.

And, so many of my Sisters do too, and they don’t even realize it.

They are all too much Women, as well.

They, like myself, have been told to water themselves down, be less opinionated, be less emotional; don’t be too loud, don’t be too independent, don’t enjoy sex too much.

Don’t be too much.

Too much. Too much. Too much.

It echoes in our heads and hearts.

So, we shrink ourselves.

Our bodies.

Our voices.

Our thoughts.

Our dreams.

We don’t want to be the girl who is too much.

That’s where Kali comes in.

She is the embodiment of the too much Woman.

She is destruction embodied (think of Her as the Tower Card).

She is time.

She is death.

She is justified rage.

She is the void known as the Cosmic Womb.

Womb

The world is in a dark time, I mean there really hasn’t been a time in modern history (or history at all) where it wasn’t dark, but in an age of information and technology the darkness, turmoil, chaos, and divisive tactics surround us.

They are delivered to us through the device you’re holding in your hand right now.

Because of the ability to receive information so quickly we can see in real time what is going on around the world, and close to home; this is a rude awakening for a lot of people who otherwise are blind to the suffering of others.

I see more and more people diverting their path away from religion and back to more earth-based beliefs and practices.

There is a rise in natural, more holistic approaches to health. People in large numbers are going vegetarian and being mindful of their eating habits and the impact they have on the planet. Cities across the world are voting to do away with single use plastic in order to save our planet and oceans.

All of this is happening because Kali’s energy has spread, almost like a virus, throughout the world and the collective at large.

She is doing what she does best: destroying illusions, and deconstructing reality.

People like to romanticize Kali like they do Lilith, but there is nothing romantic about Kali.

She will quite literally, destroy you.

And your life.

Then demand that you rebuild it.

No time for tears.

She teaches discipline and grants us permission to be nothing but authentic.

And, live nothing but authentic lives.

Through Kali I have learned to accept and embrace my rage, as I know now it serves a purpose and has its place.

She taught me that my creativity is my weapon, and I am to use it excessively.

She allowed me to break down the illusions I had built up around me and see the world for what it really is; not through the rose-colored glasses I unknowingly wore.

She taught me that ego is not to be feared but to be accepted and incorporated into our whole.

We are living in a time where the Dark Goddesses rule, and they are teaching us that darkness is energy to be honed and used like all other.

They are teaching us that where we see fault in ourselves lies power.

They are reminding us that darkness is where we come from, and where we shall return.

They are demanding that we re-wild, resist, and rebel.

For this I am grateful.

Jai Maa!

To read about Kali:

Click here