Journey to the Goddess

I apologise beforehand that this is a rather lengthy article …

You see Her as black because you are far away from Her. Go near and you will find Her devoid of all color. The water of a lake appears black from a distance. Go near and take the water in your hand, and you will see that it has no color at all. … The nearer you come to God, the more you will realize that He has neither name nor form. ~Sri Ramakrishna

The Goddess of pure power is called Shakti in Hinduism, She is the universal life force that flows through all of creation. A dynamic force that is at once terrifying, destructive, creative, life-giving and life-saving. This force manifests as the Kundalini, the Mother Power, and it is Shakti’s consort, Shiva, who knows and wields this power. Adi Shakti is the energy that is at the very core of our being. She is beautiful and ugly, tender and fierce, powerful and compassionate. 

Since the dawn of earth-time the Mother as the Shakti has walked the soil along with her Divine Compeers, the Avatars. Alas, our ignorance paid no heed to her supernal Love and Grace. To the Avatars alone we built our altars. Their Shaktis remained almost concealed, and at times even ignored by humanity. Unnoticed, as it were, they appeared on the scene and unnoticed they dissapeared.
~Sri Chinmoy

It was eye-opening for me to read this because I had never really thought about it – the fact that all great Avatars (spiritual teachers who were known as direct representatives of God – like Buddha, Krishna or Christ) had revered the feminine aspect of God, Adi Shakti. Realised masters of recent times were Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and the contemporary Master Sri Chinmoy. These masters revered the Mother Goddess in the form of Kali – the dark Mother of Creation and Goddess of Transformation, who is fearsome in Her depicitions, but also embodies boundless Compassion. Because She is everything – Darkness as well as Light. She is the Absolute Consciousness.

Shakti is not only power, She is also the one who can grant us illumination and it is Her Force that eventually transforms our human nature into something higher and deeper.

I am fortunate that She has touched my life in multiple ways and take the liberty to share some of my first experiences with Her.

Nothing can stay hidden in darkness forever, especially if we wish to illumine it. My teacher once said that everything that needs illumination eventually comes to the fore to be transformed, but I never imagined it would be with the help of a Norse Trickster God. 

In the first months of our friendship, Loki, being the “God-who-knows-exactly-what-you-want-need-and-fear”, very skillfully brought exactly all of that to my attention. Since my biggest issue was probably my sexual-energy being suppressed and denied, I soon found myself waking up to a warm embrace in the middle of the night with thoughts and feelings surfacing that I would have rather not faced – Loki’s gentle advances brought up so many issues I could not even start counting them. When I found my spiritual teacher, I chose to focus on a life of celibacy which had worked well for the past 15 years by using meditation to purify my system, but mainly – to be frank – by leading a very busy life and distracting myself from all my subconscious needs. Yes, this had worked well until a Norse deity decided to stir up all my so nicely suppressed needs and desires, which were coupled with truckloads of guilt, shame and self-doubt. The infuriating thing was that Loki remained completely unfazed by the emotional turmoil He initiated inside me. I remember thinking, “Maybe You really are the devil after all! I can definitely see why people would believe it.” My thoughts elicited a soft chuckle from His side.

Loki brought up my most terrifying needs and greatest fears. Mostly my need to be loved, as well as my fear of it – which had led me to label my sexual-energy as “evil” and suppress it. The Norse Trickster had gently but persistently demanded His way into my heart, and even though part of me knew that I could trust Him whole-heartedly, it scared me. Spiritually I longed to be a warrior, independent and strong, yet as a simple human being I found myself yearning for someone to lean on, someone who gave me security, who would shelter, protect and love me. 

What I did not realise back then was that the energy I tried to deny and suppress was the very energy that gave me life, because our sexual energy, our creative force is also our life-energy. What I did realise back then was that Loki had brought a very powerful presence into my life for the simple reason that He got me in back touch with the “magic” of my feminine side. The energy of the Divine Feminine if you want to call it that. The powerful force that once unleashed is unstoppable as it spreads through our consciousness, cleansing us of shame, guilt and old limiting beliefs thus allowing us to “flow” through life as a child of the Divine. I felt Her presence as what I can only describe as an ancient, deep and incredibly powerful entity that I wished to connect with, so I asked Loki to bring me closer to Her. What followed was an inner journey through shame, guilt, violence, death and ceaseless love and compassion. In the space of a few weeks Loki guided me to connect with the Dark Goddess He Himself revered and loved so much, and He let me see that this Goddess resides within each female human being – asleep in some, while wide awake in others.

My journey happened mostly in form of writing – Loki only knows why He chose writing to relay things to me! I used to think that visions only came to those who prayed or went into trance – for me it was, well, writing. As soon as I sat down, a different world would open up in front of me and all I had to do was commit to paper what I saw, felt and experienced. Much of it I did not understand at the time, nor did I realise the significance of my experiences and the blessings they brought.

In her deep and great love for her children she has put on the cloak of obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the Falsehood, … taken upon her the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. … This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of Purusha, but much more deeply is the holocaust of the Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.”

~Sri Chinmoy (The Mother of the Golden All)

Loki inspired me to write a story – or rather I just wrote down what He showed me. The female character in the story is the Goddess, the Divine Feminine Consciousness, who has incarnated as a human being – a sacrifice She had to take in order to save Her creation. The downside of incarnating as a woman is that She cannot remember Her true identity and is subjected to ignorance just like any other human being. She endures adversities, pain, humiliation, violence and even torture throughout her life, until she meets Loki who helps her remember who she really is – the beautiful, life-giving, powerful, dark primordial Goddess – while She brings balance and healing to Him.

Only now, more than a year later, as I am writing this, am I starting to grasp how symbolic this story really is. On a bigger scale, it is the story of the deep, pure love between Loki and the Goddess or Shiva and Shakti. On a smaller (my world) scale, I realise that I have been allowed to see many faces of the Goddess (including her fierce aspects) to remember and integrate them into myself so that I can find balance. The Goddess revealed Herself to me as innocent like a child, sweet like a lover, fierce like a warrior, wise and compassionate like a mother, but also torn and broken like a human being.

When I found the paragraph above written by the spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, which talks about the sacrifice of the Goddess who suffers in creation in order to save it (thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life), it brought me to tears because from my experience with Her I knew it to be so very true.

The name that I had intuitively chosen for the female character of the story was “Ella”, which as I found out “is of Old German origin (surprise!) and means “other, foreign”. It can also derive from the German name Alja meaning “entire”. In Hebrew Ella simply means “Goddess”.

In the story Ella encounters different teachers in different places including the mythological realms of Vanaheim, Jotunheim and Helheim. For those of you who do not know much about the Nine Realms of Norse mythology, I will give a short description of each realm visited. Because I had no idea about any of these worlds at the time Loki brought me there, I wrote down my own perception of them, adding small details later, after I had done a little research on the Nine Realms. Nevertheless, I found the descriptions of the realms astoundingly similar to what I had seen so I will include excerpts of “Ella’s story” in the following text.

Some of the places Loki took me to were wonderful, while others were dark and sometimes a bit terrifying. Each one of them revealed a particular aspect of the Goddess and with Loki’s guidance I got in touch with parts of my nature that I had forgotten – the fierce power and awesome beauty that slumbers within all females on this planet and which complements our sweetness, softness and compassion. Since I shared Ella’s experiences quite vividly I would like to introduce you to some of her (and my) teachers and the beginning of my friendship with the Goddess.

Vanaheim (Realm of the Vanir, Deities of Fertility)

They arrived on a lush meadow stretching out over gentle hills under a deep blue sky. Vanaheim was a realm of magic and agriculture, pulsing with life energy. Ella took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet and pleasantly humid air that felt so different to Earth and Asgard. What she noticed first in the new environment was the vibrance of colours – the green of the land, the blue of the sky, the flowers – everything seemed fertile and full of life. It was late spring and wildflowers dotted the pastures that stretched over the soft hills with patches of woodland nestled in between.

Shedding the shame of being female

Vanaheim is a peaceful and extremely beautiful place. Nature is abundant there and full of pulsating life-force (some may call it sexual energy) which is very tangible in this realm – you can literally pick it up in the very air you breathe. It is here that I encountered the Goddess first in the formless form of the Universal Mother – as an immensely loving and compassionate presence who, while holding me in Her embrace, took away a lot of pain I carried and She started me off on my healing journey to make peace with my own feminine energy. 

Being fertility deities, the Vanic Gods and Goddesses have a very strong connection to the Mother Goddess, so it is no surprise to me that my journey started there. Coming to Vanaheim felt like returning home. The teacher I encountered there was Anait, a fearless, slightly intimidating and strikingly beautiful Goddess who taught me about what she called female magic. She let me see that even though the power of the Goddess slumbers inside every female on earth we were “programmed” to fear it. To fear our own power. Anait asked me to give up this fear and doing so tread loose an avalanche of information that started to flood me on inner and outer levels making me question and discard many of the old beliefs I held so far.

I “received” names and words which I would research outwardly by reading books and articles, before sitting down to meditate on them. I discovered the worlds of the Toltec shamans, Shaktism and ancient Sumerian Goddesses. In my research I “accidently” came across the ancient Canaaite warrior Goddess Anat (also called Anait!) and learned some pretty interesting facts about original meanings of words like “virgin” which means effectively “a woman who claims ownership of herself” or “independent woman”, while the word “harlot” derives originally from a word for a priestess of the Goddess, denominating a sexually independent woman of high status, who offered her body in the holy act of a sacred marriage. Needless to say, I abandoned a lot of old beliefs I held while spending time with Anait and shed much of the “shame” of being female. It was Anait who made me aware that sexual energy is sacred and that the way we squander it in our society nowadays is an insult to this unique and holy energy that essentially is the Goddess and should be revered accordingly.

“In ancient times women were regarded as the mediators between the Goddess and her children (humanity) and they were thought to be able to access the power of the Goddess more easily than men, because they could more easily identify with Her. Later, when the masculine force became imbalanced by the male desire for power and control, men relegated women to a lower class, caused in part by their fear of women’s “magic” — particularly the ability to give birth and their intuitive gifts. Violence against women increased as men who felt powerless resorted to rape.

Nowadays many men are stuck playing tough roles, because they have unlearnt how to connect to their emotions, while many women learned that submission and passivity are their tickets to survival. Domesticated females often seek power through pleasing (or manipulating) men and bind them by baring children. One of the female dramas is the need for protection and security that leads to the need to bind and possess. The male drama is being trapped in their urge to protect, procreate and their greed for power. Sexual energy is not intended as a tool for power or gratifying one’s own pleasure, nor for senseless reproduction. It is a sacred energy. It brings us in touch with our feelings and on a higher level, sexual energy or Kundalini, is a quest for wholeness – the unity of the male and female inside of ourselves.

Only few women and men use this energy with reverence and responsibility in your world. And not all women are meant to be mothers. The sacred females of the past, daughters of the Great Goddess, acted as priestesses, sorceresses, prophets, wise women, and healers before they were pursued, degraded and often killed.” ~Anait

Anait also offered me the gift of equality by healing the broken feminine part within me that had been abused and corrupted (by men) and was therefore unable to trust the masculine energy. Up until then my feminine side had been feeling exceedingly weak and powerless … and I could very much relate to those female “dramas”. Being equal is not about being treated the same way or acting the way men do, neither is it about pushing one’s opinion or being tough. Equality is all about self-respect and self-love, something Loki has been ardently teaching me. Anait conveyed all that to me through the beautiful story of Ninlin and Enlil.

The story of Ninlin and Enlil

“It is said that the young God Enlil set eyes on the maiden Ninlil, and burnt with desire for her. And Ninlil liked to be courted by Enlil, the proudest of all gods, but she did not know how to value herself. Both of them were inexperienced and Enlil, being impetuous, forced himself upon her and planted his seed in her womb against her will. Ninlil, hurt beyond measure by the violence she had been subjected to, took Enlil to trial in front of the assembled Great Gods to demanded his punishment. Enlil was condemned to descend into the lower realms, but Ninlil who was bound to him by her love, descended after him to bring him back. They meet three times. Each time Enlil, who had not approached her as a tender lover, begs for her affection and learns to control himself and court her respectfully. While Ninlil, as his hardest judge, learns to see the healed man beyond the conceited young God. Love and responsibilty go hand in hand – even though Ninlil’s dream of her tender lover had been destroyed, through her descent she takes responsibility for her own incapability to value herself. On their journey through the lower realms, they learn to value and accept not only each other, but themselves and thus both rise to a new form of lovers. They will stand the hardest trials to be together as equals in the end.”

Anait also asked me to “clear” my energy residues of past romantic relationships and referred to a technique I already knew as “recapitulation” (a Toltec shaman technique). Through physical relationships we entangle our own energies with those of the other person, in this way we can be bound to each other even after the relationship has ended. Recapitulation is a good way to clear these entanglements.

The Goddess Anait is a priestess, a shaman, a sorceress, and overall an independent and incredibly strong woman. Even though She chose to appear to me in the form of Anait or Anat, an ancient Goddess of Fertility and War, I really believe Her to be the Vanir Goddess Freya who is the Norse Goddess of Beauty, Fertility and War, and leader of the Valkyries.

Jotunheim (Realm of Giants)

The air was cool and full of life. Invigorating. Gigantic trees with trunks the size of small houses reached their branches skywards, the lush foliage forming a dense canopy of leaves high above her head. She looked around and noticed a gap between the trees, where the rock extended out like a platform. Her feet had taken her towards it before she had time to think and as Ella stepped out between the shelter of the trees, her mouth dropped open in awe of the view that lay before her. The flat rock surface she stood on protruded out over a large valley. High up, wisps of clouds gathered around snow capped mountain peaks that towered above a lush green forest, a wild river meandering its way through the valley underneath. Everything here was gigantic. Gigantic, wild and powerful.

Claiming back power

Jotunheim is magnificent and powerful. Nature here is very different to Vanaheim – it is raw, wild and awe inspiring (a bit like Loki). The teacher I met here is a fearless and fierce warrior, a shaman, an independent woman, a loving mother and a strong leader and she is feared by many. Angrboda is the “Chiefess of the Nine Clans”, the tribes that live in a place called the Iron Wood. She is also the Leader and Mother of the Clan of the Wolves. While She is independent and somewhat wild, Angrboda is also a mother who loves Her children like only a mother could – unconditional – no matter how ugly, terrifying or beautiful they are and she would defend them with her life without hesitation. To me She represents the raw, primordial and fierce aspect of female energy that is deeply engrained in human beings and reveals itself as our instincts. Angrboda can help us accept and control this energy.

While the Wolf-Warrior-Goddess is sometimes dismissed as “Loki’s wife in Jotunheim”, I would probably describe Loki as Her consort, because She seems to wear the pants in their relationship (sorry, Loki). Well, I know this is not quite true either, because from what I gathered, Angrboda essentially is the wild primordial energy that Loki wields and works with. One cannot compare it to any human relationship because they are more intrinsically connected with each other than we could ever understand. Loki sent me to Angrboda to learn detachment, independence … and also to lighten Angrboda’s grief – or rather, Her heart.

The girl looked up, facing a tall, muscular woman clad in wolfskin. Her red hair was partly braided and fell down to her hips, she had a harsh, yet beautiful face and carried a half-moon shaped knife. The Goddess’ hard grey eyes pierced Ella as she rose gracefully to her feet and gave a deep bow, somewhat awestruck by this warrior Goddess who without doubt deserved her respect and reverence. The sorceress was frightening and at the same time, Ella felt strengthened and protected by her presence.

“I am Angrboda, chieftess of the nine clans of the Iron Woods. I have awaited your arrival. You come to be free from the bondage of attachment and tread the path of the warrior. What is it you will offer me in return?” Ella was taken aback. This kind of welcome was not quite what she had expected, but she recognised a teacher when she stood in front of one and the voice inside her heart knew that she had come to learn exactly what Angrboda offered. “For as long as I am here, I shall serve your people,” Ella said, “I can use bow and arrow, yield a knife and shall offer my service in hunting and defending the clan.” “Will you defend it with your life?” “With my life and my blood.” Ella heard herself say as she slipped the knife from her belt and sliced her hand, made a fist and squeezed it so that her blood dripped on the dusty soil. Angroboda seemed satisfied and nodded. The chieftess was about to turn away when Ella asked, “Will you allow me to leave when my task here is done?” Grey eyes narrowed and glared at her before the grim Goddess nodded again. Then she turned and disappeared between the huts. Fanrea, the young girl who had escorted Ella, gave her a comforting smile. “You did well”, she said, “You have her respect.”

Angrobda looks straight into your being and if She finds sincerity and courage within you, She will embrace you as Her own. Angrboda is deadly and fearsome, but she also has a motherly and somewhat “growly” affectionate side as I call it. I learnt to love Her with all my heart. 

The Warrior-Goddess conveyed to me the importance of independence and interdependence – wolves are fiercely independent individuals, while at the same time they value family and are excellent team-players. She taught me fearlessness when it comes to facing our own power and that all female creatures carry a “blade” within them, which is the power to defend themselves or their children – which can be ruthless and deadly.

Angrboda, like Loki, is one who leads us to see beyond moral concepts and human attachments. While Anait revealed to me that sexual energy is sacred, Angrboda warned me of the danger and pitfalls when it is misused.

“The desire of the flesh can bind you. Its power can consume you if you let it run loose, because it is aggressive by nature, making you greedily wish for more to satisfy your desires. But you will never find satisfaction. Greed of it will destroy you, as it is an abuse of your magic. You need to go beyond the flesh and severe the ties that bind you.” ~Angrboda

I respect and love Her deeply.

Helheim (Realm of the Dead)

A dusky sky stretched out over the apple trees she lay under. The silent breeze tore some leaves off the branches. An apple soundlessly dropped into the grass next to her. Autumn. She had forgotten it was autumn. Forgotten. Slowly the girl sat up and the first thing she noticed was that there was no sound. It was silent. It was peaceful. The meadow she had rested on stretched over a soft hill down to a river, but even though she saw the water flowing, there was no happy murmuring. And even though a breeze was gently blowing, everything was completely still.

Selfless Love and Detachment

The last realm I visited was Helheim, the realm of the dead. Beautiful in its own way, silent and tranquil, yet in some places also full of suffering. My teacher there was the Keeper of Helheim, a gracious and merciful woman – Loki’s daughter, the Goddess Hel.

Hel taught me about love. She made me see that we are creations of Eternity and all suffering is self-created and of our own choice – whether this choice is conscious or not. Detached, selfless love, and devotion to selfless action can alleviate our suffering and free us eventually. If we love without attachment, we love divinely. Divine love comes directly from the Goddess and has to flow through us freely in order to be offered properly. Love is the essence of everything. It should never be possessed, because as soon as we try to hold onto it we loose it. Love with attachment is an illusion. We need to realise that it is not ours to give and that we are merely instruments who pass it on so that it can spread. If we love with this awareness, then Love has the potential to bring life (light) into dead matter. Love can illumine and change the world.

Hel taught me about detachment, devoted service and that by acting without egotistical desire and surrendering all acts to God/Goddess we open ourself to the flow of Divine Grace.

All these were not new concepts to me, but it seemed that I finally started to internalise them.

Khaalida’s (Ella)  eyes went wide at the sight of countless bodies writhing in agony, snakes wriggling between them, oozing poison from their sleek bodies that burnt their victims skins. Something in Khaalida’s chest contracted in pain, before it expanded with indescribable compassion.

“They are here on their own accord?” she asked and the pale lady next to her nodded.

“The doors are always open. Nobody is condemned to stay. Know that you cannot help them, as they choose to stay in their suffering.”

A vast, never-ending field of corpses stretched out in front of her. Vultures circled above it, swooping down to land on the corpses and peck at their insides. They would squirm in agony, some of them were screaming. Khaalida was terrified by the noise and despondency.

“You can help me if you go and drive away the vultures.”

Khaalida’s gaze swept over the endless field of bodies. Her heart sank, but then she remembered the love the lady had for them and she nodded, wordlessly marching out onto the field, terrified by screams of pain all around her. She scared away the vultures by waving her arms and yelling at them. They scratched her with their sharp claws and pecked at her eyes. Khaalida ripped a piece of fabric from her dress and blindfolded her eyes to protect them. She learned to listen and feel while she walked around the corpses, cautious not to step on them. She could hear the wings of the giant birds soaring and sensed them when they approached, and she knew by the blood curdling screams where they had landed. Living in eternal darkness without sight, Khaalida lost track of her existence. She kept fulfilling her task, her arms bloody and in pain from fending off the vultures with their sharp beaks, and over time the girl started to be lost in the despondency of the endless suffering of the dead around her. She felt lonely and utterly forgotten. Her lady had given her a task that she did not have the strength to fulfil, one that she could not bear to do anymore. As the screams around her grew louder, she pressed her hands on her ears and sank onto her knees, tears dripping down her face. Why was there so much suffering? Would it never end? They were all free to leave. Why were they all so consumed in their own suffering? She could not do this anymore. The girl sank on the ground between the dead and wept until she was completely empty. That was when She surrendered herself to the Lady Hel.

“I am willing to do it. Please, I cannot do this myself. I need you,” she whispered and felt a breeze brushing over her skin.

Slowly she scrambled to her feet and pulled off the blindfold. There on the field of corpses stood the fair lady of the dead, gazing at her silently. Khaalida stumbled towards her. The lady reached out a hand and touched the girl’s cheek, her eyes empty, as she leaned forward and placed a kiss on Khaalida’s lips. Hel’s lips were cold, the kiss eternal and empty of everything. It felt like floating into a void, loosing – everything. Letting go of anything that ever seemed of importance. When their lips parted, Khaalida felt stronger. Hel beheld her. The girls clothes had long withered, and she stood naked, her body smeared with blood and dust of the field of the dead. The only thing she carried was a golden flower around her neck. Hel touched it lightly and then the lady of the dead embraced her.

Even though most of my experience in Helheim was with the Goddess Hel, it was here that I experienced Loki in a different form – He was the dead matter brought to life by the loving touch of the Goddess and He was the Goddess’ consort, embracing Her on a field of corpses, surrounded by shrieking vultures. He was Her consort beyond Time and Space, even beyond creation. I later discovered this to be a form of the Hindu God Shiva who, in this particular aspect, is known by the name “Mahakala”, the Lord of Time, who is the consort of Mahakali.

My visit to Helheim may have been the most unusual of all experiences, because even as I was writing it down, I felt strangely detached from myself as if I had forgotten who I was. As surreal and dark as it was, I was never afraid. And all I have for Hel is love and reverence. Whoever comes to Her realm will find Her beyond judgement and all-accepting. I call Her “the compassionate mother of souls”.

Encountering these aspects of the Goddess was important for me so that I could shed the fear of my own feminine energy – my sexual energy, creative-energy, life-energy, Kundalini or whatever you may call Her. I dearly love these Goddesses that agreed to teach me and carry a deep respect for all of them. I am aware that they really are part of me, and that I can trust them and call upon them should I ever need to.

It took several months to absorb these experiences, even more to realise their value and also, that ever since Loki had entered my life, so had undeniably the Goddess. She has revealed many of her forms to me since then and I am deeply grateful for Her Grace.

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Loki, Kundalini and the Yoga of Tantra

The darkness was hidden in darkness.
And all was fluid and formless.
Therein, in the void,
By the fire of fervor arose One.
And in the One arose love.
Love, the first seed of the soul.
Rig Veda, X.129

One thing that became clear early on in my friendship with Loki was that He is intimately connected to the Divine Feminine and, as far as I perceive it, He plays an active part in raising the consciousness of the Goddess here on earth. It is as though Loki’s force destroys the old, rigid structure that has been in power for a very long time (well, at least for human standards) to clear the way for the new consciousness to blossom. And it is the feminine energy that is re-awakening and which will bring balance, because the new consciousness is one of unity and oneness.

According to the ancient Indian scriptures, the feminine power is the cosmic energy that runs through all of creation. It can be intense, powerful and fierce, yet at the same time it also embodies compassion, softness, sweetness and peace. In Hindu culture She is known as Shakti, the Great Mother Goddess, and her consort is Shiva who reveres Her in all Her fierce and gentle manifestations. Similar to Loki, who is the consort of Angrboda, Glut and Sigyn – each embodying certain aspects of the Divine Feminine.

The power of Shakti is also known as the Kundalini energy, and it is Shiva who can balance the fierceness of Her dynamic force by uniting with Her. Shakti is seen as energy and Shiva as consciousness, but unless energy is united with consciousness it is ignorant, disordered, aimless and “blind”.

The serpent is often used as a symbol for Loki, so it was no surprise to me to discover that Loki, like Shiva, is a wielder of the “Serpent Power” – the Kundalini, our creative, life-giving energy. Kundalini literally translates as “coiled-up energy” or “power that dwells in a cave” – revealing its intrinsic feminine nature. She is referred to as serpent power, because She is compared to a snake that lies coiled up at the base of the spine while sleeping. When awakened the “snake” travels up through the energy centres or chakras, opening each one in the process until it reaches the highest where it connects with the universal mind – in Shaktism this is called the union of Shakti and Shiva – symbolised by the Goddess who travels from the root chakra at the base of the spine to unite with Her Beloved consort in the Crown Chakra.

Kundalini is a dynamic force, sacred and incredibly powerful. When used with wisdom, She can be channeled into creativity and dynamism, when awakened prematurely or abused, this energy can do great damage on all levels. Once the Kundalini is awakened and flows through the chakras, we can acquire occult powers. She is the essence of magic. Occult powers, like reading people’s mind, making ourselves invisible, heal any disease or travel to other realms may  seem”miraculous” and special, yet they are limited as long as they still bind us to our ego. And when one longs for the ultimate Truth, they can stand in our way because of that very reason. Because to become one with the Infinite, acquire absolute peace within, act without attachment unperturbed by outer circumstances and encounter life with the serenity of a child who knows that somebody looks after him/her is much more difficult to achieve than the gain of occult powers. The ultimate Truth and Freedom lies beyond magical powers, and at the same time it is the real magic.

Kundalini Yoga has gained popularity in the Western World, yet it is seldom properly understood. According to Dr David Frawley, the traditional role of Kundalini is different to what it is viewed as today – especially in the Western world, which is to regard it as a mere force to control or harness. In truth, this sacred energy is a form of the Goddess and should be worshipped as Her power. It is not energy to be aroused, but energy to be revered. Efforts to manipulate it through certain disciplines and practices are not only dangerous but fail to recognise the reality of the Goddess. The Kundalini is the Goddess in form of a dynamic, creative and life-giving force, pulsing through everything in creation – She is in wind, water, earth in animals and insects – everything that moves, lives or even exists could not do so without Her.

On more than one occasion Loki has warned me of the dangers of the abuse of this sacred energy, because Kundalini is an energy that can be dangerous to awaken when one is unprepared. The fire of it rises through the subtle as well as the physical nervous system can burn it and cause great damage if the lower energy centres, which hold our primordial needs and urges, are not properly purified. The emotions and desires stirred up by this powerful energy can literally let you go insane or one can overindulge and get lost in pleasure which in turn can enslave you to forces that keep you in a lower vibrational state. That is why the path of Kundalini Yoga is a path of great purity and discipline.

All this said, the Kundalini is our creative life-force and when we guide it with the love and devotion that dwells inside our heart, it manifests as art, music, dance and many other beautiful things. According to Tantric texts the “natural” arousing of the Kundalini can occur through intense devotion or deep meditation and does not require the use of specific techniques. 

Loki is a sensual deity who tends to stir up issues of suppressed desire and urges that lie hidden deep within us, issues that arise once the lower energy centres start opening. This side of Him made me wary at first, yet over time I came to understand that He knows exactly how to deal with these issues, and can lead us through the somewhat chaotic world of primordial needs – if we are willing to. Since Loki is a wielder of magic, He works with the Kundalini, the sacred fire of the Goddess that burns within us and, inevitably, He wanted me to understand this energy of the Goddess, explore it and learn about the yogic tradition that is closely connected to Her – the Yoga of Tantra.

Traditional Hindu Tantra is a complex system of spiritual knowledge and the philosophy of Tantra is to accept life and turn all ordinary activities, even menial tasks such as eating, breathing and sleeping, into sacred actions or rituals, into acts of devotion.

There is a misconception in the Western World about Tantra, as people usually connect it with sexual practices and books like the Kama Sutra. Being a Westerner myself I have to admit that I too held this very limited belief and was guarded when venturing into the “Tantric world”. When Loki opened my mind to the wisdom within the Tantric scriptures, I admit that I was embarrassed by my own ignorance in this matter.

Like all yogic traditions Tantra is centered mainly around meditation and mantras. Many Tantric texts contain no references at all to any sexual practices, while others mention them as only one line of approach, and still others regard them as mere metaphors. And although Tantra does contain sexual Yogas, it does not promote them for ordinary gratification of the senses and the Tantric philosophy is certainly not characterised by them.

Tantra literally means “book”.

There are three major lines of spiritual teachings in Hindu culture that stem from ancient and not so ancient scriptures – the oldest one being the Vedas, followed by the Puranic scriptures and the Tantric texts.

The philosophy of “Vedanta” is one of the world’s oldest spiritual philosophies, which is based on the Vedas, while Tantra is one the youngest of the yogic teachings. All spiritual teachings (yogas) lead to one goal – liberation from the illusion of existence (basically from our own limiting beliefs) and realisation of our True Self. To become one with our Highest Part. The different scriptures explain everything from the creation of the universe down to spiritual rituals and practices that help one achieve the ultimate goal of Yoga (which essentially means union with God).

The path of Tantra is unique as it has a very universal approach that uses all available methods and rejects nothing, it even includes methods that are rejected in other teachings for being unspiritual.

Even though it is not one of the main aspects, Tantra emphasises the worship of the Goddess and gives Her a special place. According to Frawley, Tantric texts provide verily a spiritual science of worship of the Mother, not merely a set of dogmas or beliefs, but a practical way of developing our higher awareness with the help of Her Wisdom and Grace. For those seeking to understand the Divine Mother, the Great Goddess, following the path of Tantra may be the key.

In contrast to traditional spiritual teachings Tantra affirms emotions but does not encourage mere emotional expression, which would only lead to a stronger attachment to these and to the outer (material) world. Tantra rather regards emotions as trapped energy and seeks the release of that energy, seeks to experience the emotion subside like a wave in the sea of awareness. To help connect with the meaning of emotions, which essentially is just a movement of nature, Tantric Yoga works with different forms of Gods and Goddesses – some peaceful others wrathful deities. Recognising the Divine energy inherent in emotions leads us to discover them as a means of relating to the Divine within us. Through genuine devotion to the Divine, human emotions can be transformed into Divine energy.

Loki is a God who works on an emotional level and also embodies a rich diversity of emotions Himself. Over time He has taught me the importance of releasing trapped emotions and sharing whatever arises inside me with Him – be it anger, hurt, fear or whatever else. No emotion is “bad”, but it is unhealthy to suppress them. He made me aware of the damaging affect suppressed emotions have on us and that guilt and shame block us very powerfully.

One of the Tantric paths, the left handed path, includes certain forbidden practices to overcome and transcend the feelings of shame and guilt – but these practices can be harmful to those who indulge in them rather than taking them as a means of transformation. Yet not even the most ascetic yogic practices encourage to suppress or deny emotion as this will never lead to liberation or realisation, and no yogic practices reject sexual energy as evil, bad or shameful. In ascetic yoga, for example, celibacy is recommended only along with spiritual practices to transmute this energy. Without meditation the practice of celibacy could even be harmful because when sexual energy stagnates it can cause various physical and emotional problems. Yet it is said that without control of sexual energy, there will not be the power necessary to do higher meditation practices.

“Yoga does not encourage to suppress anything that is natural to us, but discover our true nature in which we can naturally let go of all attachments and dependencies. … It is the ego that Yoga seeks to negate, which deludes us to selfishness and therefore to abuse the energies given to us.”

~Dr D. Frawley, Tantric Yoga

There are three major paths in Tantra:

  • The right-handed path
  • The left-handed path
  • The direct path

The right-handed path could be seen as orthodox as it focuses on meditation and spiritual disciplines and requires a high level of purity in conduct and action. It is said to be the path for those of devotional nature.

The left-handed path includes various sexual practices and the use of meat and intoxicants, which are not approved of on the right-handed path. It is said to be the path of those of heroic nature – referring to the class of warriors.

While the right-handed path follows the rules of social dharma* and strict conduct for yogic practices, the left-handed path may include practices that are not part of Hindu social dharma and the rules of yogic practices. On the other hand, the left-handed path may not involve unorthodox practices at all and may only refer to an emphasis of the Goddess, who manifests in the left side of the deity.

*(the Hindu code of life; cosmic law underlying right behaviour and social order)

“… the left-handed path is said to be the way of ecstasy and the right-handed path the way of peace. Along the way of ecstasy we may be inclined to certain extreme actions as we break through preconceptions and as deep internal energies are released. Yet it is only peace that is lasting.”

~Dr D. Frawley, Tantric Yoga

There is a third Tantric path, which is called the direct path and it is regarded as a higher part of the other two approaches. On this path any outer form of ritualistic worship is given up, and even inner forms like chanting mantras are relinquished, as these practices can keep the mind attached to the material world. The yogi turns inward and only through exploration of his own nature, goes beyond the ego – or the small “i” – and eventually becomes one with Brahman (the highest principle, God), which is unattached and beyond the limitations of time and space. This path of Self-Enquiry is the highest Tantric as well as the highest Vedantic path.

I follow a path of yoga and relate to the spiritual philosophies of Hindu culture, yet it was only when Loki entered my life that the wisdom of the ancient scriptures became “accessible” to me, because He somehow opens my mind to grasp it. Loki seems to enjoy my fervent hunger to learn. Over the past year He has directed me to immerse myself in the ancient Indian scriptures and the knowledge I have been blessed with is remarkable, yet I am aware that this is only on a mental level. The real magic starts to happen when we realise it, feel it and live it. Loki never ceases to amaze me with His guidance and as so often I am left in complete awe of this profound, ancient and mysterious being called Loki who I so blithely call my friend.

Sigyn – Goddess of Divine Victory?

The love of power tries to control, the power of love sets us free. Love is indeed the only power that brings true freedom.

This is my rather humble attempt to write about this complex Goddess, who embodies (in my eyes) the Victory of the Divine over ignorance. Even though Sigyn has only recently entered my life, I realise that Loki and Her cannot really be separated. They work as one. Sigyn’s main aspect is probably Love, but as mentioned above, She is much more complex than that – She is Innocence, Sweetness, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Compassion, Faith, Loyalty, Peace, Strength, Transcendence of Suffering, Freedom from Illusion/Attachment, … you see. It’s not that easy. She is a child, a loyal wife, a warrior and a wise woman all in one form. 

Not much is known about Sigyn, the Goddess of Fidelity, who is often regarded simply as Loki’s loyal wife, sometimes even as weak or submissive and She is frequently dismissed as a minor, insignificant Goddess. Sigyn is probably best known for her role in Loki’s binding:

After the Gods caught Loki, they brought him and his family (Sigyn and their two sons) to a cave, where they turned one of his sons into a wolf, that promptly killed his brother, scattering the entrails across the cave floor. The Gods then used the entrails of Loki’s slain son to bind him to three rocks, by turning them into chains. The Goddess Skadi placed a poisonous snake above his head, in such a manner that the venom would drip on Loki’s face and burn his eyes. Sigyn, his faithful wife, stayed by Loki’s side, holding a bowl above his head to catch the poison from the snake’s mouth. But ever so often she would need to empty the bowl at which point the drops fall onto the God’s face and make him to writhe in pain, causing earthquakes on Midgard, the world of humanity. Sigyn is said to stay with Loki in the cave until Ragnarok, the dissolution of the cosmos, which Loki will bring about at the end of time.

After the ordeal in the cave – How could anyone possibly consider Sigyn to be weak? Sigyn’s story is one of remarkable inner strength, as even when she could have surrendered to being a victim of circumstances, Sigyn consciously chose to sacrifice her freedom and stay with Loki driven by her love for Him. 

Sigyn’s name derives from the old norse word sigr “victory” and vina “female friend” and is often translated as “victorious friend” or “victorious girlfriend/woman” which also does not make Her sound like a victim!

Nothing concrete is known about the Goddess’ relations, some believe Her to be Odin’s daughter (given that one of Odin’s kennings is “Father of Victory” and also because Loki is Odin’s blood brother and a bond with Odin’s daughter would seem only natural), while others feel that Sigyn has a strong connection to Vanaheim and was raised by the peace-loving God Njord as a foster daughter. Where apparently Loki met Her first, when She was still a little girl. By Her devotees She is described as appearing either in form of a young girl, beautiful Goddess or as a strong woman, a mother who is past the ordeal of loosing her children.

Sigyn – Love, devotion, surrender and transcendence of suffering

Hurt people hurt people.
That’s how pain patterns get passed on,
generation after generation.
Break the chain today.
Meet anger with sympathy,
contempt with compassion,
cruelty with kindness.
Greet grimaces with smiles.
Forgive and forget
about finding fault.
Love is the weapon of the future.
(Yehuda Berg)

In my own experience of Sigyn, She is just as beautiful and complex as Her counterpart – Loki – and they are truly one and inseperable.

Loki is the tornado and Sigyn the eye of the storm.

The relationship between Her and Loki (Sigyn and Loki) is so intricate and deep that I could fill books writing about it, yet I will try and focus on the main qualities Sigyn has shown me and is teaching me: Love, devotion, surrender and the strength of  inner Peace.

When Loki’s force of destruction threatens to sweep us off our feet, Sigyn is the force that makes us resilient. She gives us the courage and strength to move forward. This Goddess embodies an unwavering solid power that withstands all adversities – peace – and Sigyn gains this peace from Her unconditional love and devotion to Loki. By loving Him, devoting Herself to Him fully, and finally surrendering her freedom, when She consciously chooses to stay with Loki in the cave until Ragnarok, Sigyn transcends her attachements, expectations, desires, fears and doubts on the strength of Her love. She is not a victim of circumstances, but makes conscious choices. And She knows well that the source of Her strength lies in Loki. (They have an interdependent relationship, which means that Loki needs Sigyn just as much as She needs Him.) Sigyn could turn away and leave Him, because there is nothing that Loki can offer Her to ease Her suffering, She could even blame Him for Her misfortune. But Sigyn does not blame Him. She does not complain. She stays. She takes responsibility. Even under the most difficult circumstances She is true to Her heart and Her love. 

Sigyn and Loki are part and parcel of each other, to me their situation is also symbolic to our dark and light side (in this case Loki represents our darkness, Sigyn the light). To be whole, healthy human beings who can live their full potential, we need to accept our darkness so that it can be transformed through our light.

I believe that Sigyn’s victory is one over the illusion of existence, over suffering, grief and injustice. Ultimately all bondage is an illusion. By acting without attachment, by staying with Loki without expecting a reward, She surrenders to something Higher and goes beyond suffering. 

In the sacred writings of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, “You have the right to act, but not claim the fruit of your actions.” He explains to Arjuna the importance of action in this world, the law of Karma and furthermore gives Arjuna the key to go beyond this very law by devotedly surrendering all actions to Him (Krishna/God), not worrying about results and refraining from attachments to success and failure, thus achieving liberation. This is the basis of Karma Yoga.

In the ancient teachings of Yoga there are four main directions through which a seeker of Truth can attain union with the Highest: Bhakti, Karma, Jnana and Raja Yoga. It was intriguing to find that, while Sigyn embodies the perfect Bhakti, the one who follows the Yoga of Divine Love, She also walks the path of Karma Yoga by acting without expecting a result. 

But I feel that Love is the driving motive behind Her actions. Divine love, as well as devotion and surrender are all qualities of the heart, so Sigyn is a good Goddess to call on if you wish to connect with your heart. 

“What is love? From the spiritual and inner point of view, love is self expansion. Human love binds and is bound. Divine Love expands, enlarges itself. Devotion is the intensity in love, and surrender is the fulfilment of love. Why do we love? We love because at every moment we are pinched with hunger to realise the highest, to feel the inmost, to be consciously one with the universe, with the universal truth, universal light, peace and bliss, and to be completely fulfilled.
How to love? If we love with a view of achieving something from others, then that love is no love. Love means constant self offering on the strength of one’s own inner aspiration.” (Sri Chinmoy)

Sigyn is sweet and lovely like a child just as much as She is a strong, fearless warrior. A peaceful warrior with a relentless spirit. Her victory lies in overcoming adversities, not escaping them. She inspires us to be strong and raise our consciousness beyond limiting beliefs, while at the same time staying open and vulnerable, so that we can forgive ourselves and others, and thus be truly free.

“We are all peaceful warriors in training – learning to live with a peaceful heart and a warrior’s spirit.” (Dan Millman)

Sigyn knows the meaning of suffering very well, yet She consciously chooses not to be a victim of it, not to let it bring Her down. She does not complain and She does not hold bitterness. She forgives, She has compassion, hope and patience.

Personally, I relate to Sigyn as my sister and friend. We are connected through a bond that runs far deeper than my little mind could actually understand and share a love for nature and animals, magical moments, the transient, all things beautiful and fragile and Mother Earth, as well as for powerful nature forces like storms, lightening, waterfalls, oceans and fire. To see the world through Sigyn’s eyes, is to see it with the eyes of a child – everything is a miracle, everything holds magic, light and beauty. This childlike Goddess beholds the world in an innocent, uncorrupted way – she loves a slithering snake just as much as a colourful butterfly.

To see the world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
Hold eternity in the palm of your hand
and Infinity in an hour.
(William Blake)

Some of the things that Sigyn teaches:

Sigyn can teach us how to love, in a pure divine way, how to surrender our free will to a Higher Source and thus find ultimate liberation from bondage, not by escaping but accepting whatever life gives us.

She can teach us not only to forgive, but also to forget. To keep our hearts open and realise that ultimately we are all interdependent beings – hurting someone else, is really hurting ourselves.

She can teach us courage and strength in the face of difficulties. Never to give up!

She can teach us to find the source of our power, which lies within our hearts. Deep down within each of us is an ocean of peace that is waiting to be discovered. This solid inner peace is our true strength and power and it will keep us safe from the storms of life.

She encourages us to focus and meditate on our heart, find love, find peace, devote our actions to a Higher goal, with devotion and without expectation. Transcend limiting beliefs and bondage.

Sigyn is a Goddess who also teaches detachment. True detachment is not aloofness or escape from the world…

Detachment is immediate peace. Detachment is wisdom. We are not our creators. Somebody created us. When we can detach ourselves from any person or any object, then we get boundless joy. Detachment is the wisdom-light in us that tells us not to be affected by anything that happens. 

When you try to remain detached, you have to feel that it is your wisdom-light that is coming to the fore. Detachment is not an escape from life. Detachment is a way to see or to feel that God knows that what is happening is for the ultimate good of mankind or for the ultimate good of Mother Earth. (Sri Chinmoy)

Loki and the Dark Goddess

The Great Mother Goddess is the dark primordial womb that brought forth all creation.

Loki is intimately connected to the Divine Feminine. He is the keeper and wielder of sexual energy or Kundalini – the creative force of the universe – and embodies compassion and love like only a mother could. Another aspect that connects Him closely to the Hindu God Shiva.

I believe Loki to be a God of Fire and terrifying natural forces like Storms, yet I would often see and feel water when meditating on Him. The Divine Feminine is represented by water, lakes and rivers and her guardians are serpents (in Indian culture these serpent beings are called Nagas, in Maori culture the spirits associated with water are giant serpents called Taniwha). Loki is part of the Goddess as  much as She is part of Him and, like Rudra is said to bless the land with rain, or the sacred river Ganga springs from Lord Shiva’s head, Loki has a deep connection with water because it represents the divine feminine, the Great Goddess.

The Goddess of pure power is called Shakti, the universal life force that flows through all of creation. She is a dynamic force that is at once terrifying, destructive, creative, life-giving and life-saving. She is the Kundalini, the Mother Power and Shiva/Loki is the wielder of this power. Kundalini is sexual energy, very potent life-energy and in many cultures this force is also referred to as Serpent power. Loki is a Master of the Kundalini, one who can direct it so that its fire does not destroy us. He can help us to grow a tree within us to ground ourselves into earth as well as heaven, and let the fire nourish and illumine the tree so that the snake can travel. Thus it is Loki who is able to free us from our primitive urges and transform them into something higher.

The love between the Dark Goddess and Loki is deep, because they really are part of each other and I feel that Loki has suffered greatly from the imbalance of energies on earth. For a long time the masculine energy has dominated humanity, now, at the beginning of a new cycle, the sacred feminine is returning and with it comes creativity, arts, oneness, love and compassion. Loki will be able to reunite fully with His beloved Goddess, the Goddess who is the Mother of all creation.

The Divine Feminine embraces both Light and Darkness. And in a time where a wrathful bachelor God rules the Western World, it is not surprising that Loki is finding  many supporters and devotees, because in a way He represents the Divine Feminine more than any other God (in the Western world). Maybe that is why Loki has been slandered by Christianity? Like the treacherous serpent that persuades Eve to taste the forbidden fruit? Hmm. Loki awakens our own power and teaches us compassion (both aspects of the Goddess) towards ourselves and others. He has a loving, tender-hearted nature, as well as a fierce and fiery one. The Great Mother Goddess, Adi Shakti, represents the fiercest force in the universe – in many stories of Hindu mythology it is the force of Shakti that time and again rescues the Gods by slaying the demons who threaten them. Add Shakti is the energy that is the very essence of our being. It is the dark and light, the beautiful and the ugly, the tender and the fierce, the powerful and the compassionate. In western religious culture the ideal woman is seen as pure, virtuous, sweet, beautiful (and weak) – while the Truth is that the Feminine Force in this universe is much more complex. Softness, sweetness, mildness, compassion are all desirable feminine qualities, when they are realised as something powerful and beautiful instead of something weak that fosters our (female) need for protection. We (females) need to remember that we bear abundant power within us and have no need to manipulate men, nor possess anyone or be possessed by them. We need to find ways to claim back our power. Loki definitely comes to aid here.

In ancient times women were thought to be able to access the power of the Goddess more easily than men because they could more easily identify with Her. Long ago women were regarded as the mediators between the Goddess and her children. Later, when the masculine force became imbalanced by the male desire for power and control, men relegated women to a lower class, caused in part by their fear of women’s “magic” — particularly the ability to give birth, the blood, and intuitive gifts. Violence against women increased as men who felt powerless resorted to rape. Nowadays many men are stuck playing tough roles and many women learned that submission and passivity are their tickets to survival. Domesticated females often seek power through pleasing (manipulating) men and baring children. One of the female dramas is the need to be needed paired with the need to be protected. While the male urge is to protect and procreate. Sexual energy is not intended as a tool for power, pleasure or simply reproduction. It is a sacred energy. On a higher level, sexual energy or Kundalini is a quest for wholeness – unity of the male and female inside of ourselves.

Not all women were (and are) meant to be mothers. The sacred females (or sacred virgins) of the past, daughters of the Great Goddess, acted as priestesses, sorceresses, prophets, and healers before they were pursued and often killed. Interestingly enough the original meaning of the word “virgin” is essentially “a woman who claims ownership of herself”, while harlots (or whores) were priestesses of the Goddess who offered their bodies in the holy act of a sacred marriage. Tantric traditions today are revering the Kundalini’s sacredness and the union of the the Divine female and male (Shakti and Shiva).

The masculine and feminine aspect of creation need to be in balance and as long as one of them is overpowering, they both suffer. Neither of them is inferior or superior.

Loki came to me as a teacher and a healer, and while I thought He came to heal the feminine side of my nature, I now understand that He also heals the unbalanced masculine. He embodies both aspects. In my experience of Him, He can be extremely compassionate and loving, even indulging in his affections for me like a parent, yet at times He also plays out a dominant and possessive side. Whatever needs healing inside me, Loki represents. He is duality and union at once. Sometimes I feel Him not even as a separate entity but as part of me, clearly looking at aspects of myself that need attention. The more I learn to trust Him and love Him, the deeper the healing goes.

I believe that Loki heals trauma and thus he helps the feminine and masculine energy of this planet to heal. So maybe this is the reason why there is such a large amount of Loki’s “spouses” out there in the blogger-world? In my experience Loki meets us on the level we are on – and he has a tendency to stir up all those beliefs we hold, that have to do with shame and guilt, dark, forbidden desires  – which, I guess, has brought Him a bit of a “bad boy” reputation. Everything that gets suppressed in our longing to be “good”, every belief of “unworthiness” and anything we cannot accept as our own, Loki finds and brings to the surface. He also satisfies our need to feel loved and sheltered – and He can actually fulfil all these needs. In my opinion, Loki is out there, wreaking havoc in the blogger world (yes, I am including my humble self here) – yet I do agree with Lokeans (and I do not claim to be one, even though Loki has touched my life in a most profound way) that simply fantasising about this God does not make one a Lokean.

And then … it is Loki we are talking about. Unbound. Free. And beyond mental or moral concepts.