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In the wheel of the year, we have entered the dark cycle where the nights are longer than the days. This is the perfect time to call on Kali, yoga’s dark goddess, and to turn inward for spiritual work and self-reflection.
Let Kali Shed Light On Your Shadow Side
Kali helps us become aware of our shadow area, the unwanted and abandoned places within us that generate shame, blame, and denial. When our shadow is running the show, we feed our inner critic, repress our emotions, and project our stuff onto other people. We often push aside the aspects of ourselves that we find unlovable and in the process lock up our vital life force energy in these dark places. To unpack our shadow, we must be willing to go into the dark.
Kali is the yoga of radical honesty and true authenticity. For me, she is the “shadow-tracking” goddess, who with fierce love takes us to our deepest wounds in order to truly heal them. When I first encountered her in my early twenties, I felt repulsed by her grotesque imagery with fangs, blood, swords, skulls, and wielding weapons in every hand. I couldn’t understand why yoga would include such demonic-looking Goddesses. I wanted to be lifted out of my pain, not reminded of it. In fact, I wanted to avoid my pain altogether and get on with the promise of a new beautiful version of myself.
In the psychology world, there is a term called “spiritual bypassing,” which refers to the use of spiritual practices to avoid dealing with the deep and unresolved wounds of our psyche. This can happen when we try to be overly optimistic or overly detached about a situation, denying our true feelings, avoiding the emotions that are most difficult for us, and struggling to establish clear boundaries all under the guise of being compassionate, kind, and spiritual. If you find yourself on a karmic “rewind-and-repeat” cycle in any area of life, this is an arrow of truth pointing straight to your shadow.
Call On Kali To Support Self-Exploration
Over the years, Kali has become one of my favorite images of the Divine, because she shows us the way of real truth and intimacy with all parts of the Self. Her teachings hold us accountable and responsible for our own mistakes and call us to a down-to-earth undertaking of our spiritual practices with full transparency.
As the nights get darker, call on Kali Ma to know your shadow, transform your fear, and see the truth that is ready to emerge within you. Om Kali Ma!
TRY THE PRACTICE Goddess Yoga Project: Defeat Fear With Kali’s Sword Breath
About Sianna Sherman
Sianna Sherman is creator of the Goddess Yoga Project in partnership with Yoga Journal. She is the founder of Mythic Flow Yoga, a unique style of alignment-focused asana informed by ancient wisdom and myths. She leads teacher trainings and retreats around the world.