I’ve been meeting one-on-one lately with a shaman in our community to do some spiritual work regarding this time of personal transformation for me. During our last meeting, we talked about my need to find greater access to Spirit support—or at least a greater awareness of its presence. One of things we did was to identify a goddess who was making herself available to help me so I could focus on developing a relationship with her. I used a Goddess Oracle card deck to identify Durga as the goddess who is volunteering to assist me. It was very clear in reading about her why she would be an appropriate helper right now given the issues I am dealing with.
However, over the weeks since our last meeting, I have not had any sense of Durga’s presence in my life. I have found her to be quite useful as a role model, yet I don’t have a sense of her as personally present. Granted, I did wind up choosing a goddess that is known as “the unapproachable one,” but no attempts at developing a relationship seem to be working. As I was thinking about this on the way to meet my shaman friend today, I was running through my usual litany around what I must be doing wrong for this not to be working the way I think it should be, when it suddenly dawned on me that there is a most sensible reason why this is happening. It’s not so much that I’m doing something wrong, but that Durga knows that I’m not ready for her presence yet because I am still trying to approach her with the wrong motives.
My religious background is Christianity, which is a patriarchal religion. The Divine is thought of in the tradition I was raised in as being outside of ourselves and is someone to whom we owe our subservience. In fact, the Self is seen as sinful and corrupted, and we were continually admonished that we should not trust ourselves or own knowing because of our innate depravity. We were encouraged to abandon our unworthy Selves in order to abdicate our personal authority to a perfect God that existed somewhere out there.
In shamanic thought, Spirit is thought of very differently. In this paradigm, Spirit works with us as a partner rather than a dictator. We treat Spirit with respect and reverence, but our final source of authority still comes from within. Our Higher Self, while we are not capable yet of functioning at that level at all times, is seen as being equal to any of the Spirits with whom we may work. We are all part of the luminous whole.
I realized today that I was still trying to function(albeit unconsciously) under this old paradigm from my childhood religion. I was seeking Durga’s help not as a partner in this process of trying to determine my path through the transformation process, but I was seeking someone outside of myself to tell me what to do. Someone to whom I could abdicate my authority in the matter. It’s no wonder Durga wasn’t interested in being present with me in that way!
I have been actively working on learning to better discern, trust and follow my inner intuitive voice. I am making great progress with this, but I still tend to rely too heavily on the opinions of others to make my choices about what I should do, what I am worth, and how I should feel. I believe that as I continue to strengthen this ability to trust my inner truth—to claim and own my own authority—I will find that Durga will be more willing to meet me in that inner place of knowing to provide support and guidance as a partner because she will know that I will have the strength of character I need to evaluate and consider her guidance according to my own inner knowing. As long as I look to her for all the answers, I suspect she will remain unapproachable for me.
This is going to take a huge shift my perception of Spirit. I feel like even the ability to realize this shows that I’ve made great progress, but this will be an ongoing journey. It’s one more thing to add to my “If I Were Brave” list. If I were brave, I would claim and own my inner authority and never again abdicate it to anyone. I AM brave. Time for a change. Durga, I hope to meet you soon … on the inside.