American Shakti: by Saum
What is Shakti?
You already know.
Beyond any definition I can give you, beyond explanations
drawn from scripture and authorities, is the true meaning of Shakti that each
woman knows. It is true because it is your Shakti. It is the part of yourself
that you reach into, the deep well that most of us discovered when we had nowhere
else to turn. Shakti empowers us into ourselves, empowers us to be ourselves. When
you look within for inspiration, solace, guidance, it is Shakti that gives
answer and Shakti that acts through you. It is the wisdom of your
great-great-great-grandmother, encoded in your bones, the wisdom of the
all-Mother that rises through each of us. It is the effervesce of life. Shakti
does not only exist in women, but it is through women that it flows. It is our
essential foundation, and it is that which goads us to change.
Shakti is a Sanskrit word, but Shakti is beyond religion,
race or nation. While the Hindu calendar recognizes Navratri (the nine nights
of the Goddess), we are Hindus living in the wheel of Americans seasons. In
Euro-American folk traditions, these seasons are significant: autumn is time to
enjoy the harvest, to prepare for the quiet wild of winter. As we enter autumn,
the air grows crisp, the days grow brief, and we grow introspective. As the
days darken, the leaves brighten. We see the colours of the Goddess: gold,
orange, red. The season lights its dia to Devi.
As that power comes through it becomes: we make it what it
is. Whether you are in the boardroom or bedroom, you know the feeling. Shakti
is power and Shakti is play. Shakti is the warm womb of the kitchen and the
cool bravery of the battlefield. She is the quiet moment when we gather and the
brilliant light when we shine. She is what all women know. She is without form
yet encompassed by each of our forms. She is beyond and within. Shakti is the
current that flows beneath the current.
Shakti is what is shared when women gather: not the
essential but superficial knowledge of doing
but the deep instinctive knowledge of being.
Shakti is not chosen, and we cannot control it. It the flood, the rush of
endorphins, the giddy laugh, the flash of insight, the swirl of energy through
the cosmos. We ride it like a wave.
This is what Shakti is to me. What is Shakti to you?
This month of October, this season of autumn and Navrathri,
take the time to find, explore and express your Shakti. Reach out. Create. Heal.
Celebrate Navratri in a way that is meaningful to you. Nine
nights in a row, observe a ritual: it may be traditional, invented or a
combination of the two.
Just as you already know what Shakti is, you know, deep
inside, who you are.
This autumn, tend the light that glows within.
Rediscover yourself. Invent yourself. Become yourself. Most of all: revel in yourself.