The Protective Power of the Sacred Feminine

Look over what you have written.

Now take the radical step of turning this over to the universal power of grace. Offer the obstacles to Durga, saying, "I offer all this to the Durga Shakti, asking that your grace dissolve all obstacles, inner and outer."

Now, with the inhalation, feel that you breathe in the goddess's energy. Exhaling, feel that you breathe it through your body and into the world.

Who Is Durga in Your Life? 

The gesture of breathing in the goddess's energy is important. Sacred energies usually don't swoop down from the mountains to resolve our dilemmas. Instead, they work through our own body and mind. Durga's presence arises as insight, the strength to carry something through, or as the instinct to win your battles. When you practice with the Durga energy, you'll often find yourself taking on her qualities of strength and resoluteness.  

The Heroine: Righting Wrongs

One way to get a felt-sense of the Durga Shakti is to remember a moment when you recognized, from the deepest place inside you, that something was wrong; that it had to change. If that recognition comes from the Durga Shakti, it goes beyond mere frustration. It goes beyond cognitive awareness of a social problem. Durga's transformative power carries a conviction that comes from deep inside the body, and with it often comes a sense of "Now!"—meaning the time is now. When that knowing is strong enough, it is followed by action. You will willingly put your body and your speech on the line to change the situation, whether it is an internal or an external one.

One of my Durga friends noticed that her son's asthma got activated during the times when local crops were being sprayed for pests. She organized a group of mothers to protest aerial spraying in her area, and after several years was able not only to have it banned in Los Angeles, but also to have the pesticide removed from circulation entirely. Now, besides her day job as a psychotherapist, she runs an environmental group focused on lobbying against airborne pesticides.

Durga as the Force of Inner Revolution

The same power of purposeful action can be invoked when you need the will to change a deep-seated habit or addiction, to carve out time for practice, or to follow an inner calling. Durga's shakti can give you the power to face the parts of yourself that are in the way of your evolution, but she can also show you how to speak up for yourself when you need to ask for a raise, face a challenge, or take on a difficult responsibility. The more you invite Durga's energy into your life, the more you'll feel her opening you to the warrior within you. Durga's power is the guardian of your highest aspirations, and she promises never to let you down.

(Adapted from Sally's new book, Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga)

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12/2/2022 9:08:55 PM
Sally Kempton
About Sally Kempton
An internationally known teacher of meditation and spiritual wisdom, Kempton is the author of Meditation for the Love of It and writes a monthly column for Yoga Journal. Follow her on Facebook and visit her website at
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