Goddess Bhadrakali Worshipped by the Gods from a tantric Devi series, Artist Unkinown, 12th century {{PD}}

This is a reprint from ECLIPSE, slightly modified, and has already appeared here at the blog under a different title–but I do think the ideas bear repeating. Looking for the Full Moon report? See it here.

There’s been lots of talk these days about the return of the goddess–but I don’t think the goddess was ever gone. Seeing it as a disappearance/ re-appearance is seeing it through patriarchal eyes: women have always been, so goddess has always been. A patriarchal society is a Doing-oriented society, one that recognizes and values action, while (typically) disparaging its opposite, the essence of female energy: the receptive, the accepting, the open, the Being-oriented. Goddess energy is female energy, and functions by filling space and time with its very existence; it is vital simply by being, whereas male energy only exists when it is in motion, closed, targeted, inflicting itself on others or the environment. It’s a disparity that many have difficulty grasping, and this is chiefly because we have been indoctrinated with a bias for movement, action, ‘results’, and a sense of accomplishment that relies on seeing change, rather than feeling it. The goddess can sit perfectly still and sense the inevitable processes of growth and decay all around her–she is in fact aware that she is part of this cycle–while those invested in the god-like animus credit only the effects the hands or mind have on the landscape.

In modern Western society we’ve been conditioned to see worth and even virtue in emulating male doing energy, no matter one’s role. We applaud activity, even when it’s purpose or value is questionable, and we see this ‘busy’ attitude reflected in phrases like ‘Protestant work ethic’, ‘Yankee ingenuity’, ‘make hay while the sun shines’, and so on. This is not to say that effort is not important, but that it is only one side of an equation; to celebrate doing and accomplishing without also celebrating the contemplation, depth, communion, feeling, sensitivity, and intuition that can not only shape and guide effort but make sure efforts are effective, is to make action a god, and to cast being as a meaningless state that offers nothing to our advancement–and of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

We tend to have disdain (or at least, less regard) for the kind of contemplative or menial or repetitive tasks that act as a meditation and are much more a being state than a doing one; we may label these ‘women’s work’ (oh, the derogatory tone with which this is spoken!) and see them as beneath us, since they don’t include the slap-dash of going from A to B–but that would miss the point. No one thought to ask the grasshopper why he fiddled while the ants worked–but no grasshopper lives through the winter; it would’ve been a waste of his time to put away food for days he wouldn’t see. (And if we want to get technical about it, the ants would awaken from a torpor to begin their work and replenish their colony before much had grown or bloomed out in the world, so they did need a storehouse). In nature there is balance and reason, room for both god and goddess energy, a different set of rhymes and rhythms that apply to each creature–and we should keep that in mind when judging what’s appropriate or ‘right’, useful and useless.

‘Jupiter in the Guise of Diana Seducing Callisto’ By Gerrit van Honthorst {{PD}}

The picture above is a testament to recognition within the patriarchal structure of Western society that sometimes receptivity is needed in order to gain what is wanted. There’s irony in a doing-dominant entity choosing to enact the anima in order to get something, which getting is in itself a highly animus thing, the kind of goal the doing energy is consistently targeting and pursuing. In the painting Zeus (Jupiter) has apparently learned that abduction and rape don’t win him any friends; instead he transforms into the goddess of the Moon and the Hunt, Diana, and lures Callisto with the Moon’s sensitivity, responsiveness, and ability to reflect back to others what they ‘shine’ with–and yet, in choosing Diana’s form, he’s choosing the most animus-like of the goddesses, in terms of her Self-expression through hunting and pursuit. Empathy requires the surrender of boundaries to the point that one Being can feel the other Being, complete, which the male-oriented cannot do without putting aside the continual, outward thrust of energy that is the normal modus operandi for them.

Even in Zeus’ choice, though, the usefulness of the receptive, Being stance is denigrated, as it’s seen as a tactic with which to accomplish  a goal, rather than as a state of Being just as valid and as dynamic in its own way as any action. With Zeus it’s a means to an end, and so falls in a long line of actions meant to fulfill the animus aim; if it were a true goddess energy, the communion would be without boundaries, and no specific outcome would be on the agenda–being would be enough. If quantum mechanics are correct and the butterfly’s movement is enough to topple a civilization as the shift ripples through matter and time, then the even more subtle shifts in consciousness, attitude, belief, and the effects of both prayer and love are felt as strongly as anything built, accomplished, or acquired. So next time you see a woman sitting with eyes closed, or standing quietly out in the grass, or strolling along with no destination in mind, or rocking a child, you’ll know just how busy, how important what she’s doing, really is.

Your word image is a pair of things: the mention of Karma addressed in or in the name of works of Art, and a key that suddenly appears on the floor at your feet. As they’ve come up at the same time, I can’t help but think they’re linked, each describing a part of what needs our attention. The key came first. Of course, there’s the key, the ‘at your feet’ part telling me it’s laid out before me, presented even, no searching required. The image seems to say: Here’s what you need, that vital thing that will open it all up, let you in to where you want to go. I kept seeing references to Karma related to Art that made me wonder what was in the Collective air that was influencing Artists. Too often I feel that Karma is mis-represented as something outside ourselves, when in my view it’s really just the accumulated energy of our own choices and actions, bouncing off the energy of everything else in existence–that is, it’s not something weighing and judging you, out to get you, to ‘balance’ the Universe, it’s just you, meeting your own energy in another form. So, that would suggest that the key we need to acknowledge, pick up, and use, the use of which will be entirely to our benefit, presents in a situation that’s nothing more than our own accumulated efforts and attitudes, bringing about particular results and circumstances. My thought is: you’ll know this ‘Karmic’ thing, and what it means, when you see it–and you’ll also know, it’s the key you’ve been looking for.