Working Out with the Gods: Running with Artemis, Dancing with Kali

Working Out with the Gods: Running with Artemis, Dancing with Kali August 2, 2017

One night, I ran to a clearing in my local woods. The sky was dark, but I called the directions for my full moon ritual anyway. I felt the nudge of Artemis, so I called upon her, too.

Artemis running with her hound
Artemis running with her hound

When I closed the circle, I invited any gods to stay if they wished. The other gods absconded from the circle, presumably to do other important things, but Artemis stayed. She followed me out of the clearing and onto the sidewalk. When I started to run back toward home, she kept pace with me.

We ran together for a while, her bow and arrow jostling on her shoulder. Her hounds yipped and panted as we rounded corners and picked up the pace. She pointed up at the sky, and I inhaled sharply. The full moon shone through the shadowy pines. My heart swelled with love and appreciation. The moon goddess was showing me favor. It felt amazing!

Artemis veered off, waving, just before I ran into a well-lit commercial area near my home. But the thrill of running with Artemis stayed with me.

Even though the obesity rate has leveled off in the US, it’s still a risk for many people. Exercise is essential to maintain a healthy body weight, but it doesn’t have to feel sterile. Why not run with Artemis, lift weights with Thor, swim with Oshun, and do yoga with Shakti?

This kind of practice can bring new life to our physical routines, and can be perfect for integrating the gods’ energy into our lives. Think about it – with the increase in heart rate, the additional oxygen, the body-mind connection, and the trance-like mental state that sometimes happens with exercise, it’s a perfect time to commune with those higher-vibration energies.

Another fun running practice I’ve enjoyed is channeling either hunter animals or prey animals. I’ve envisioned myself as a jaguar, running through the forest to catch my dinner. I’ve also imagined myself as an antelope or a deer. My mindset was that I had to be faster than my predator, who sometimes chased me (in my imagination). Bringing that kind of animalistic energy into my exercise makes my steps lighter, fiercer, and more meaningful.

Run like a deer. Wikimedia Commons.
Run like a deer. Wikimedia Commons.

If you’re into shamanism, you could try channeling your spirit animal. If your spirit animal is a bird, you could even ride a bike to feel like you’re flying.

Whenever my friends and I dance with fire, we pick a goddess to channel. Pele is particularly amazing and transcendent – those performances were lively and energetic. One time, when we lost a fire-dancing friend to the other side, we channeled Maha Kali during a performance. It was a devastating, all-consuming energy, but dancing with Maha Kali provided us the catharsis we needed to move through our loss.

Dancing with the darkness: Kali. From Wikimedia Commons.
Dancing with Maha Kali. From Wikimedia Commons.

Belly-dancing with Ishtar was, likewise, quite revelatory. I always learn new moves every time we dance together.

Practicing yoga with Shakti was simply out of this world. I felt in touch with my energy throughout the session, and afterward, felt more aligned than ever.

I tried lifting weights with Thor, but I’m not quite as strong as he is, and he had little patience with me. (The feeling is pretty mutual, if I’m honest.) But that experience might resonate with someone else.

Artemis on the hunt. Wikimedia Commons, edited.
Artemis on the hunt. Wikimedia Commons, edited.

Nowadays, I invite Artemis on my run as soon as I leave my home. Sometimes I feel her running beside me, and other times, I’m on my own. Whenever I feel her, gratitude pours out of me. I find myself smiling. Running with her makes exercise more exciting, and makes me feel more alive. Exercising doesn’t get much better than that.

Note: Exercise is unique to each of us. I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to have claim to any formal medical background. Please talk to a doctor about your exercise limitations to be safe. 

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