The Primordial Feminine

Five Week Series: Spiral Goddess, Dakini, Shakti, Sophia, and Shekinah

The Sacred Feminine exists in all and is all. The Sacred Feminine exists beyond time and space. She was never born and she will never die. She is an ancient and timeless energy, a cosmogonic feminine principle. She IS primordial. She changes, and appears in an endless array of forms. Sometimes she appears with her consort or counterpart, but still, She is always sovereign.

Our inaugural Sacred She Aspects series will begin with the celebration of the Sacred Feminine in her eternal, primordial nature. While we perceive her manifestations as infinite, we offer a glimpse into Her sacred matrix. We hope that these images and quotes inspire you to dive into Her depths.


Week One: The SPIRAL GODDESS from the Neolithic Civilizations

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According to myriad images that have survived from the great span of human prehistory on the Eurasian continents, it was the sovereign mystery and creative power of the female as the source of life that developed into the earliest religious experiences. The Great Mother Goddess who gives birth to all of creation our of the holy darkness of her womb became a metaphor for Nature herself, the cosmic giver and taker of life, ever able to renew Herself within the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
— Excerpt from The Civilization of the Goddess, by Marija Gimbuas
Another sampling of Reclaiming's spectacular Halloween ritual in anticipation of the Thirtieth Anniversary Spiral Dance, which will take place on Halloween, October 31, at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco. The Spiral Dance, with over a thousand participants, honors the dead and plants the seeds of a visionary future.
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Show Feminino Mitologico 2011 Gravado em 18 Dezembro de 2011 2a Sessao
The lyrics: I am the goddess My feet are rooted Deep within the earth My head among the stars My crown the universe My arms are open wide To hold eternity I am the tie that binds Encircling you and me
 

Additional Resources on the Spiral Goddess:

 Photo by Annalisa Derr

Photo by Annalisa Derr

Brooklyn Museum: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Judy Chicago’s magnum opus, “The Dinner Party” is a multi-year, multi-artistic medium art installation featuring 39 important female figures from history as immortalized on 39 plates. The floor of the installation re-members 999 additional names of women, many of whom have nearly been lost to HIS-tory.

 

Week Two: DAKINI from the Luminous Void & Buddhist Tradition

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Dakinis offer a feminine model that is fierce, wise, spiritual, and embodied. They give us the energy of the undomesticated feminine; they are not meek or submissive. They are luminous, subtle spiritual energy, the gatekeepers and the guardians of the unconditioned wisdom and sacred earth.
— Excerpt from "Wisdom Rising" by Lama Tsultrim Allione
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Ling Gesar & Maha Deva Puja

Venue: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Date: 4th, 5th & 6th June

Om Ah Hum are Body, Speech and Mind. E is Space, connected with Heart... Yam is Wind, connected with Lungs... Kam is Water, connected with Kidneys... Ram is Fire, connected with Liver... Lam is Earth, connected with Spleen... Shudde shudde ah ah means purify purify...

This contemporary Dakini video artwork and musical piece was a collaboration by musician Kira Kushnirova and embodiment and film artist Kalista. Their inspiration was the Red Tara (also known as Kurukulle) sacred shamanic rites-of-passage, through the Mystery of the Rose, and the blood moon. The Dakini is a semi-warthful diety. She is fierce in the way she loves. She is particularly associated with rites of magnetization or enchantment. She is also known to dance in a Dakini-pose while crushing the asura Rahu (the one who devours the sun).

Yogini Drukmo Gyal Dakini will share in her 17 min speech how to bring back the harmony between a mother and a child under the guidance of buddhist teachings? Moreover she discusses the value of a female in buddhism.
 

Additional Resources on Dakini:

CONTEMPORARY DAKINI

 Nairatmy by Tilly Campbell-Allen

Nairatmy by Tilly Campbell-Allen

Dakini As Art

An online resource for contemporaty international Dakini Artists. Their artwork spans a variety of mediums, including visual art, dance, embodiments, and music.

Dakina Embodiments by Kalista

She is Love co-founder, Kalista, Dakina embodiment pieces offers a contemporary and fresh expression of Dakini. In her work, Dakini is transformed into Dakina, a sovereign expression of this timeless, boundless and primordial feminine energy.

 

TRADITIONAL DAKINI

Judith Simmer-Brown

Judith Simmer-Brown is a Buddhist practitioner and scholar within the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Her talk at the Sivananda Ashram introduces some core facets of the traditional understandings of Dakini. In addition, her published works, such as Dakini’s Warm Breath, offers a unique view of the ancient and primoridal Dakini for the modern seeker.

 

Week Three: SHAKTI from the Hindu Traditions

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The word Shakti means ‘power.’ Shakti, the innate power . . . come[s] into play in the act of cosmic creativity, when divine intelligence spins a universe out of itself, much the way a human mind creates a dream or a fantasy on its own inner screen. The cosmic creation explodes in a big bang and then evolves over millions of years as suns, planets, increasingly sophisticated life forms, and, of course, human beings. All of reality . . . is Shakti’s dance. Shakti takes form as the biological processes of our body. She acts through our thoughts and the play of our emotions. She becomes every atom and dust mote in the physical world. We are, in essence, made of Shakti.
— Exerpt from "Awakening Shakti" by Sally Kempton
 
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This TEDx talk by Srividya Nagaraju is about the evolving role and power of Indian Women in history and current times; and their possible future. There are many stories of unsung Indian women whose extraordinary achievements represent today's India.
"Baale" unfolds the unfathomable beauty and dimensions of womanhood waxing poetic on its audio-visual narrative. Written and directed by Shruthi Namboodiri, "Baale" has been composed and sung by Sudeep Palanad, founding members of World Music Festival Foundation, that has produced "Baale".
Odissi is one of the eight classical dance forms of India, originating from the state of Orissa, East India. This piece is the first dance in the Odissi repertoire: Manglacharan, Ganesh Vandana. Choreographed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Maryam is a London based odissi dancer, and has been studying primarily under Smt Sujata Mohapatra and Colleena Shakti since 2012.

Excerpt from the sacred Hindu text, the “Mahabharata,” directed by Peter Brook. This scene exemplifies Draupadi’s embodiment of her inner power, her sakti. (This summary written by Annalisa of She is Love).

 

Additional Resources for Shakti

Sita Sings the Blues

“Sita Sings the Blues” is a contemporary interpretation of the Hindu sacred text, “The Ramayana.” The filmaker utilizes a variety of artforms from blues music, animation, shadow puppetry, and storytelling to reimagine the devotion, heartbreak, and summoning of one’s inner power—her sakti, to bring about healing for herself and the archetypal feminine.

 
  Anjolie Ela Menon, Sakti, oil on masonite board with gold leaf, 91x61cm.

Anjolie Ela Menon, Sakti, oil on masonite board with gold leaf, 91x61cm.

“Voice and Visibility”

Online feature of Women in Contemporary Indian Art hosted by Bangladesh based, Depart. This particular feature showcases five Indian artists who blend mixed media art methods to engage, dialogue with, critique, and upend traditional gender roles and cultural expectations from the point of view of women’s lived experiences.

 
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Mystical Poets: Akkamahadevi, Andal, and Mirabai

There are a number of well known female mystics from India whose poetry pulsates devotional bhakti for their beloveds, Krishna and Shiva, respectively. These women defied the traditional customs and duties expected of a woman and wife while fulfilling their spiritual aims and calling to express their love in song, poetry, and pilgrimage. Ultimately, they embodied Shakti both as archetypal lovers and consorts of Krishna and Shiva, but also, in their ability and courage to align with their own innate sakti— their inner power—to live as a full expression of the sacred feminine, Shakti. These poets include Akkamahadevi and Andal, as well as Mirabai.

 

Week Four: SOPHIA from the Gnostic Christian Traditions

 
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“I am the first and the last

I am she who is honored and she who is mocked

I am the whore and the holy woman

I am the wife and the virgin

I am the mother and the daughter

I am the limbs of my mother

I am the sterile woman and she has many children...

I am humiliation and pride

I am without shame

I am ashamed

I am security and fear

I am war and peace

Pay attention to me

I am she who is disgraced and she who is important

Pay attention to me, to my impoverishment and to my extravagance

Do not be arrogant to me when I am thrown to the ground...

Do not laugh at me in the lowest places

Do not throw me down among those slaughtered viciously...

I am she who exists in all fears and in trembling boldness...

I am being

I am she who is nothing...

Hear me, audience, and learn from my words, you who know me

I am what everyone can hear and no one can say

I am the name of the sound and the sound of the name...

Uncontrollable and condemning passions

And passing pleasures that people have

Until they become sober and go up to their resting place,

And they will find me in that place

They will live and they will not die again”

 

Excerpt from “The Thunder, Perfect Mind,” c 2nd CE text. Translated by: Hal Taussig, Jared Calaway, Maia Kotrosits, Celene Lillie, and Justin Lasser

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“Thunder: Perfect Mind” for Prada

A Jordan Scott & Ridley Scott film

O virtus sapientiae by 12th century mystic and abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Performed here by Lumina Vocal Ensemble (Director Anna Pope) in the 2008 Adelaide Fringe Festival concert "Mediæval Magic'. Singers: Rachel Sag (solo), Saam Thorne, Angela Randall, Anna Pope, Renate Fetzner, Rosemary Byron-Scott, Tim Muecke, Bernard Mageean, Matt Winefield, Clive Conway, Kenneth Pope.
Sophia as Wisdom by www.ourspirit.com Audio 401 Sophia and Christ are like twin spirits who work together for the redemption of humanity. They are counterparts. They are united. As Christ came to the Earth to incarnate, so did Sophia. They came together. It is a complicated story that will be described later.
Composed and performed by Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe. Ancient Coptic text discovered in Egypt at Nag Hammadi in 1945. Origin unknown, related to ancient Greco-Egyptian Goddess-religions. Partial English translation of singer's Coptic.
 

Aditional Resources for Sophia

Pistis Sophia

This is an audio recording of G. R. S. Mead’s translation of this 3rd or 4th century AD Gnostic text. While the meaning and understanding of Sophia varied from Gnostic storyteller to storyteller, this text goes into great detail as to the Gnostic world view and Sophia’s place as within the divine cosmic drama.

 

Week Five: SHEKHINAH from the Mystical Jewish and Kabbalah Traditions

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“I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the Elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of powers divine, Queen of heaven! The principal of the Gods celestial, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customs and in many names” 
― Excerpt from The Cosmic Shekinah by Sorita D'este

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Taped at YOCA in Boulder, CO on January 6, 2004 In honor of Kohenet!
The Divine Feminine Oracle
 

 Additional Resources for Shekhinah

 

Coming this DECEMBER 2018:

We at She is Love are committed to presenting the full spectrum of the Primordial Feminine as She appears in a variety of forms and names across cultures. In doing so, we will debut even more aspects of the Primordial Feminine in the next few weeks!

Featuring: Iyami Aje from the West African Yoruban tradition and the White Buffalo woman from the Lakota Native American tradition and Spider Woman from the Navajo, Pueblo, and Hopi Native American traditions.

 

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