In the past nine months of my new life in North Carolina I’ve gotten to know Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, and while at times I have railed against her, I have come to respect and appreciate her. She seems to be the personification of the adage, “Be careful what you wish for…”
I wished for a new life, a new way of doing my work as a therapist, new creative and artistic expression, and a sense of renewal, in general—in a place that was moist and fertile and green. I found the moist, fertile, greenness in our new home in Carrboro, North Carolina. But as in the birth of all new things, the old must die first, and that can be a painful process.
So I have been in a cave for most of the winter with Kali, grieving and saying good-bye to the known and familiar, the life I knew in California. I had work to do in the cave, too—tasks to accomplish, hoops to jump through—to obtain my professional licenses. And there were seeds to plant in that other fertile place – my imagination.
Now that spring is here and it’s been nine months, the same amount of time it takes for human gestation, I feel I have come out of the cave and into the sunlight, having given birth to something new. I don’t quite know what she looks like yet, or what she will be in full form, but I know a shift has taken place and I feel something old has fallen away. Kali has helped me with that dance of chaos, and I have listened to the message and learned to embrace her and the great mystery. For the name Kali comes from the Sanskrit word, kala, meaning time. Her three eyes represent the ability to see into the past, present and future. She is also the dark mother whose lolling tongue represents her indiscriminate enjoyment of the world’s flavors as she devours time and then resumes her own dark formlessness.
In the window pictured here, that is my own face painted as Kali from a ceremony a few years back, brought to life in a collage, a detail on the cover of my journal. I’m always amazed at how what I collage on my journals comes to pass—an unconscious seedling that takes form as I write and explore.
I, too, have devoured time and now I stand in the light of day—a spring day—feeling renewed and refreshed and full of hope. The spring is truly inspiring here—yesterday we had three very short but intense downpours, which I love to hear hit the tin roof like a thousand paradiddles.
Flowers are crazy in bloom everywhere, the scents intoxicating. People are talking about and showing off their gardens, some newly planted; others—including the one we are enjoying at the house we rent—abundant and lush from years of tending. Kali helped lead me through the darkness and the storms of winter and once I embraced her, I was free to go.
Have you met Kali? What have you learned from her?