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It's Time to Drop the Masks

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The energy of the creator and destroyer is a very fierce face of the feminine, and one that is disowned for many women today. Yet her energy is celebrated in a number of cultures across the world. Kali and Durga from the Hindu tradition are great examples, as is Pele, the volcano goddess for Hawaiians.


In my women’s wisdom circle this month, we dove straight into the arms of Kali. With a necklace of skulls and hair that is matted and wild, she asks us “What stuck pattern have you continued to perpetuate for lifetimes?” And with her dagger raised, eyes glowing, she continues “Are you ready to release it now?”


For those truly ready to release, her dagger can be used to cut away old ways that no longer serve us. Her electric wild fire energies rip through the dead, husk-like layers to re-awaken energies that have been dormant. And while it may seem scary or unfamiliar for some, inviting in this energy is also hugely empowering and liberating.


And we do need to integrate this energy. As a woman walking alone down the street at night, we can call on the energy of Kali if someone who seems threatening approaches us. We need to be able to touch into our bellies and our genitals and shout “DON’T MESS WITH ME!” We need access our own fierceness to fend off anyone or anything that threatens us. As we burn through the triggers attached to our anger, we can reconnect with this energy that is our life force, our passion, and our spark.


We can also use this energy to cut through the sinews of our misplaced attachments. Are you busy trying to keep yourself cozy and safe? Most of us are guilty here. Gulp. But Kali howls with a laughter that peels away our clawing hands. She reminds us that there is no real safety. Are you willing free fall away from anything that is not real? What is your commitment to your own liberation?


One of the ways we keep ourselves safe is by hiding behind masks that we show to the world. Many wear an outer mask of being attractive, nice, or pleasing. Others wear the mask of being a victim or being helpless. We might wear the mask of the seductress, or hide behind our role as mother or wife. Or it could be the mask of indifference, when the truth is that we deeply care.


No matter what the mask, there’s deep value in identifying them, claiming them, noticing the gifts that each mask has offered us through time, and then making a choice about which ones we may want to let go of in Kali’s fire.


Here’s an assignment that I offered to women in our wisdom school. I invite you to do the assignment yourself and then post your experience on my blog. You are invited to take a picture of your mask and share your process.


Here are the instructions:


Consider making a set of simple mask out of construction paper. These can be layered one on top of each other—representing different aspects of your self. Here are possible layers of the mask. Of course, you can do fewer layers and lay them out in your own way, as you feel moved. The instructions below can merely serve as a guide.


  1. First layer represents the primal rupture of trust, the “loss of innocence”
  2. Second layer represents core layer of beliefs, pain and hurt. It can also include behavioral shields, coping mechanisms, compensating behaviors.
  3. Third layer represents reactions/patterns/trigger points. For example, anger, annoyance, criticism, judgment, impatience, irritation that forms a layer to cover pain and hurt
  4. Fourth layer represents the questions “why me?” This could include feelings of unfairness, injustice, giving away our power as a creator and becoming a victim. It could also be the ways you hide out with a smile … saying, “I am fine.”


For each layer, as you create it, ask, “What is the gift and teaching of this layer?” Please remember to hold yourself in love and deep compassion as you explore each level. Please feel free to take digital pictures of these masks and post them on my blog. For those masks that you feel ready to release at this time, you might choose to release them into a blazing fire, with gratitude. If possible, it’s ideal to release these masks in front of one or more sacred witnesses.


Whether or not you choose to do the assignment above, there’s many ways to invite in the energy of Kali. The first step is being willing to look at the patterns that bind, the ways you stay small, the ways you hide, and the ways you are disconnected from your anger. You call on her in your meditations or prayers, use music that vibrates with her frequency, and take a risk in showing up in your power and your fierceness. And as you do, you claim the power that has always been yours. Touché! 

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