Slaying the Dragon
In thinking about “The Dragon” I find myself drawn to the Hindu Goddess Kali. I’m going to use her representation and misrepresentation as an allegory so we can perhaps see our own patterns and limitations through her.
In Tibetan Buddhism Her male counterpart is Kala, an epithet of Shiva (The Destroyer), thus tying her inextricably to him. She is regarded as the shakti (power) of Shiva, and he her consort. Being associated with Shiva, it’s not surprising that she is one of the most misunderstood of all the Goddesses/Archetypes; not unlike how we misunderstand/represent ourselves in our own existence. But I’ve jumped ahead of myself here.
Kali is depicted by a black or dark blue skinned woman. Sadly, some had taken that color away from her and show her as white, which is a completely inaccurate depiction. Her skin is associated with the womb of the eternal I AM, in its un-manifested form, which creation arises from and will again dissolve into. She is known as the goddess of death; that alone can bring images to mind that completely misrepresent her.
She is compassion that provides liberation. Along with Shiva, they bring death to the Ego and destroy that which is not real.
Kali wears a garland of skulls and skirt of dismembered arms because of the egos identity with the body, showing that we are of spirit and not flesh. Her offer of liberation can only commence when our attachments to the body are no more. The garland and skirt represent the trophies she adorns to symbolize having liberated her children from their attachments to the limited body. She holds a sword and a freshly severed head dripping blood. As the story goes, this represents a great battle in which she destroyed the demon Raktabija.
In this battle she is manifested to deal with a situation that has gotten out of control. As the legend goes, every single drop of blood spilled by the wounded Raktabija becomes a deadly fighting clone but The Goddess turns the battle around and defeats the demon by draining his blood before it touches the ground, devouring the clones, hence the severed head dripping with blood and her ever present tongue lapping up every drop. She appears when decisive action is required, when in need of resolve, when no one else will stand strong and the completion of the circle looks messy but is necessary.
She doesn’t represent the physical death, though it’s expressed in pictures as such, she represents the death of the Ego. The illusion of reality tries to convince us that this death is only associated with the body, so to overcome the “I am this body” belief, with her support, through awareness of the body’s passing through the dense manifestation of life as we know it, We are reborn within the temporary density of the world and our body remains as our Ego does not.
Notice her stance. The right and left sides represent duality and opposites; as these dwell within ourselves. The Right foot points forward, the hand towards the sky, open, facing, upwards supporting what we consider positive, freedom, liberation, wholeness. The left side pointing downward, holding weapons, the bloodied sword representing higher knowledge, the severed head, that of the Ego needing to be removed.
She is depicted as standing on Shiva, who lies under her right foot, He is represented as having white skin (in contrast to Her dark skin) with a blissfully detached look. Here, Shiva represents pure awareness, or Sachitananda (existence, consciousness and bliss or truth, consciousness and bliss) while She represents "form", eternally supported by a foundation/pedestal of pure awareness.
She has been the Archetype/Goddess of strength, wisdom, discernment, and knowledge yet her image has been represented by many scholars of which those who study Her without those traits misrepresent Her meaning; just as one might say that Christianity is a religion of death, destruction and cannibalism, in which, the practitioners drink the blood of Jesus and eat his flesh. As you can see this misrepresentation, once the difference is known, is obvious and can not be forgotten.
What the heck does this all mean?
As we look at her strengths and attributes, we see the world around us is not necessarily associated with them. As we dig deeper, we can also see how they are exactly what we are in need of at our very core. Such traits are valiant, feared and idolized. Those whom do not possess them wish for them (or run away from them) and those that have them are unaware of their value (or use them for bettering the world).
What I mean by all this is…
We are in a society that is not so supportive of Her strength, fearlessness and wisdom, yet that is exactly what we’re in need of. Whether we identify as male or female has nothing to do with finding who we really are and standing in our power. Ego would have none of this for us. Going back to the reference of “we are of Spirit not flesh” means that the outside world is but a small inkling of what and who we truly are.
The reference to slaying the dragon has to do with our Ego. Facing the “demon” within. Stepping out of the crowd and feeling into our own magnificence. Each of has the opportunity to face the Ego, in all its splendor; to take responsibility and ultimately to set it free by releasing it. We equally have the opportunity to fully embrace it and allow ourselves to release responsibility, from any and all consequences it may be responsible for.
We each have a “Kali” within. That matriarchal protective energy that knows what we need, how to honor it, and that “take no prisoners” ferocity. Ego is savvy. Ego is smart. Ego is learned. Ego is the dragon! This dragon would burn us from the inside given time.
When we have those instant responses to others’ actions (i.e. jealousy, insecurity, fear, anger, shame denial etc.) we are dealing directly with the Ego. These sometimes are deeply ingrained due to many years of programming. So, the process of slowing ourselves down can seem impossible. It may feel that these “emotions” are just who we are.
This couldn’t be further from the real truth!
If we start to notice when these instant reactions happen, doors to other possibilities present themselves, which can lead to the opportunity to ask ourselves the deeper questions. Questions like, “where is this feeling coming from?”, “Is this really how I feel?”, “Is this masking what I really feel?”, “Do I need this to make me feel whole?”, “What would I need to do, be, or think to reassure myself that I am already perfect, whole and complete?”
The Ego provides us with limitless opportunities. One can never truly learn everything. There is an abundance out there. We get assistance from outside forces that come in the form of “feelings”. We say things like “That’s just how I feel”, “My feelings are hurt”, “I don’t feel the same” and the list goes on and on. Literally every single day we are given multitudes of opportunities to look at ourselves. A lot of us, do everything in our power to avoid it.
However, society’s belief system (approval system/fit-in system) is not necessarily what we, individually, might think, feel or believe. We may have adapted to it for survival and safety reasons but if we don’t believe in them, as adults, they simply become other people’s fears and limitations. Even though we may have become very good students in our past, and learned what was expected of us, we now have the ability to find out if those beliefs really belong to us, after all this time. Aren’t we still students, as long as we’re here?
Looking deeper into ourselves, we have the opportunity to make different choices, to change our perceptions, to let go of things that may be in the past and don’t need to be a part of our present. We have the ability to release ourselves from what we use to think. We can be our own saviors. The “dragon” is only strong if we feed it. We are limitless, if only we believe we are.
Henry Ford said “Whether you think we can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”
What will you choose to feed? Do you think can, or do you think you can’t? Here’s to living your best life!