Our oldest myths hold a secret about the Divine Feminine: the power of creation belongs to Her.
“She is. Nothing else is. Only She, the urge, fecund, emergent, rhythmic, dancing a world into being from the void that is no void at all but Her urgent Self, who takes form for the pleasure of it, of Her own accord,” write David Leeming and Jake Page in Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine, a compilation of stories about the DF from around the world.
The ancient Greeks gave us the story of Gaia, the Mother of all things, who “formed herself into the world out of chaos.” The Aboriginal people of Arnhemland in Australia tell of Kunapipi, the First Mother, who traveled across the ocean, bringing the ancestors with her. The ancient Egyptians celebrated Nut, the Goddess and Great Weaver who wove the world into being, giving birth to the Sun God, Ra.
Most vibrantly today, the Yoga Tantra tradition offers us Shakti, whose name is synonymous with divine feminine power. Shakti is the “force of cosmic creativity, when divine intelligence spins a universe out of itself, much the way a human mind creates a dream or fantasy on its own inner screen,” writes Sally Kempton in Awakening Shakti.
As the force that creates the entire universe, Shakti is present in every living thing, including us. She embodies every cell in our bodies, every aspiration, every so-called wild hair idea that seizes us.
Shakti cannot help but create – it is what She does. And because She embodies us, that creative urge is present in each of us, too, regardless of whether or how we choose to honor it.
I had one of my first awakened experiences of the power of Shakti two years ago. I had recently returned to work after giving birth to my son. By that point, I’d caught a glimpse of the DF and felt a profound sense of purpose that my work should somehow be about embodying Her, but I had no idea what that meant. At the time, I was really hoping I could figure out how to bring this devotion into my current job, so I spent a lot of time attending purpose-driven business events and contemplating whether or not getting people to feel more connected to their corporate work (which was in essence what my company did) was, in fact, a mission that supported the Divine Feminine.
“Follow the energy” is a phrase I’ve since learned from one of my teachers; it means the ideas and activities with the greatest spark are the ones we should be following. This isn’t an indulgent activity; rather, it’s paying attention to the way Shakti, the Divine creative energy, is calling us to show up in the world.
Unfortunately, Shakti could have cared less about me helping people feel more connected to their corporate work.
I mean no disrespect to my former self or my colleagues. I believed very strongly in my company’s mission, and I still do. What the DF was showing me, however, was that it was not important work for me to be doing anymore. Apparently, I was supposed to be writing instead.
A new friend had recently invited me to join an annual creativity challenge called the 100 Day Project. You choose your project, commit to doing something creatively each day for 100 days, give it a hashtag, and share your creations on Instagram.
I’d been secretly writing poetry for a while, but I’d been too shy to share it. With the support of friends, I decided to go for it. My project was #100DaysofTrueSentences, named after my favorite Ernest Hemingway quote: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
Over the next 100 days I faithfully wrote at least one line of poetry a day. In the process, I felt myself come alive in a way I’d never experienced. It was the first time I’d committed to a creative impulse with no expectation of an external outcome, and it completely changed my life.
Over those 100 days, I learned what it felt like to be authentic and to cherish my creative spirit for its own sake. Over and over again, my writing organically centered on freedom and an intense longing for deeper connection to the Divine. As the project was drawing to a close, I found myself stunned by the lure of my own creative voice – especially in comparison to how I was feeling about my real job – and shocked by its ability to reveal a central truth that was far more powerful than I’d realized. The power of Shakti ultimately became the nail in the coffin of my business career.
Since then, I’ve been doing my best to follow Her lead. This hasn’t always been easy, especially when it required me to dismantle a career I’d spent 16 years building, for example. She’s also called me down some amazing paths I never knew I’d walk.
Not long after I left my company, I awoke one morning with a very clear message in my head, as if someone had spoken it directly to me. “Make whatever plans you want, but know that everything will be different in seven months,” it said.
Well, that’s weird, I thought. Seven months seemed oddly specific. I made a note of the message in my journal, thought about it for a few days, and then went on with my life, committing to a yoga teacher training program and generally trying to reinvent myself after life in the business world.
Many months later, I awoke again with another message, this one even more specific and detailed: I knew I was going to write a book about the DF. An outline and chapters were pouring into my head, so I grabbed my journal and a pen to begin taking notes as quickly as I could.
As I opened my journal it fell open to the page where I’d written down the strange directive about seven months. I’d also written down the date – October 8.
I checked the date on my phone. It was May 6, almost seven months to the day. Once again, Shakti was in the lead.
Since then, I’ve been writing in fits and starts. I’ve learned that my creative impulse isn’t a big fan of arbitrary deadlines and goals, which is a shame; the old me absolutely loved them. Still, in their own time and their own way, the words show up when I’m ready to receive them.
One of the sections of the book that I envisioned over a year ago was about a pilgrimage I wanted to take to visit several places of documented DF worship around Europe. I had no idea how I’d pull this off at the time, but in less than a month, Tom and I leave for a two-month trek across Europe, with a five-year-old and 2-year-old in tow.
I’m beyond excited. I’m nervous about how my little ones will handle the travel. And I’m scared. I wish the world were a safer place. I wish someone could give me a preview of how this journey will turn out for all of us.
But I’ve also decided to trust, and to let Shakti lead the way. She knows what she’s doing.