Dances with Kali
It was the time of Halle Bop, a comet visible to the naked eye, high in the heavens. For me the comet seemed like a visitor from another dimension, from another universe, making contact with humanity for its own unspecified purposes. I watched it every clear night as it flew through the heavens, sharing its tidings of magic and mystery. Whenever I observed it, I was filled by a mixture of wonder and gentle apprehension.
I had been talent-spotted by Anne Marie, a powerful woman who had founded her own Druid Order. She was a solitary Druid, looking for a partner in order to expand her operations, and I was it. We had met at a couple of ceremonies and a workshop, and we had spent time together. I was fascinated by her personal power and individuality: she always wore white flowing clothes, she expected everyone to do what she asked them to do, and had an air of royalty about her. She was the queen!
We connected mostly through our experiences in India. We had visited the same places and the same holy people, and had spent time in temples studying the Sacred. Somewhere along the way she had decided that I would make a suitable partner. The matter was settled.
She invited me to visit her on her house on a hill overlooking Bath, an ancient city in the southwest of England, the location of the only natural hot springs in the land. As such it was especially revered by the ancients and was an important place of pilgrimage. Through the ages, many temples were built there, and it became an important sacred center. Bath enjoyed the beauty of many parks which were filled with huge ancient trees; I could feel primeval green forces at work in this blessed place, and wherever one looked, in street or parkland, everything was alive with flashing movements that one saw out of the corner of one’s eye. I felt honored to live there, and was aware I was being touched by deep, ancient magic that covered the land like a shimmering mist.
I spent a few evenings with Ann-Marie in the house on the hill, talking, making magic and playing. I could feel that she was on the hunt, and I reveled in the outrageousness of it all. As a hunter myself, I realized that this was a situation of power, and if I played my cards well, I could end up with a nice boost of energy. It was also a risk, and I savored the adrenalin rush of danger.
The more time I spent with her, the more I realized she was mad. I discovered that the energy exchange I was about to make for the honor of being Archdruid was a large proportion of my income, the use of my car, various undisclosed duties and, basically, slavery. As my horror increased, so did my admiration of this aberrant woman. It was as if she was not bound by normal, human boundaries and that her desires, powered by her awesome will, was the point of it all.
She was the ultimate warrior, and although I had no idea why I was embroiled in this relationship with her, I could feel that it was important and I felt compelled to continue the dance. One thing was absolutely clear: despite any physical attraction I had for her, upon no circumstances must I allow any sexual relationship to develop. I could feel that, if that happened, I would be swept away and drowned.
One evening she asked me bluntly if I would accept her offer to be her spiritual partner. Inside I knew there was no way I wanted, or needed the honor, but I was addicted to her powerful presence. I wanted to eke out the time we would share together, but I could tell that we were soon to reach the magical climax of our relationship and that it was all about to end. She told me I had one month to decide, and that I was to visit her the next new moon to inform her of my decision.
I could tell that she was blind to what was really going on inside of me; she was convinced that I would do anything for the promise of power and glory she was dangling in front of me like a golden carrot. I, on the other hand, knew that this was a partnership I must not pursue if I wanted to hang on to my soul, so I was completely clear what I wanted, and was ready to tell her. I suspected that she wouldn’t be too happy about it, though.
The evening of the next new moon is etched for all time in my memory. I walked through the park in the darkness, aware of the shadows of the huge ancient trees as I passed by. It was completely calm, and stillness blanketed the land. As I walked uphill to her house, Halle Bop shone brightly overhead, whistling through infinite space and whispering the fate of all those who noticed and heard. I realized that I was caught in her web of mystery and otherworldly beauty, and that I was one of those people: I could sense that my destiny was being woven that night, and whatever happened would affect me for the rest of my life.
Ann Marie opened the door and I entered. There was a heightened sense of expectation in the air, for we both knew that something momentous was about to be revealed. We engaged in pleasantries over a cup of tea and cookies, and then, softly, she asked, “Have you decided?”
I said, simply, “ I’m not going to be your Druid partner.”
Disbelief washed over her face, and she suddenly looked confused, and vulnerable. Then fury swept everything out of its path, and stayed.
“You will pay for this,” she hissed. “How dare you defy me! You will pay for denying our destiny!”
She closed her eyes for a few seconds and then seemed to come to a decision. She relaxed and opened her eyes, focusing them on me. I saw a smoldering anger mixed with steel determination.
She said softly, “You must die. With the power invested in by Kali, the avenging Mother, I curse you now with Death.”
She opened her mouth wide and extended her tongue downwards as far as it would go. She stretched her arms out in front of her and her fingers moved gently, seductively. A moan escaped he lips, making an eerie, resonant sound. Ann Marie was directing an awesome amount of energy towards me. Tingles and shivers danced over my head, neck and spine, and my hair stood on end. I knew that this performance, in certain circumstances, could cause a lot of damage, or even kill.
I took stock of the circumstances. The weird thing was, I realized I was actually hugely enjoying myself. I observed the drama unfolding in front of my eyes and gave thanks for the wonderful, magical, outrageous nature of my life and basked in the energy of the situation. I took great pleasure soaking up all the power that was being generated and was being directed towards me, and celebrated being given the opportunity to heal and grow.
The reason I was untouched by all the potential negativity was because I had spent a lot of my life getting to know, and working with, Shiva. He is the Creator and Destroyer god of the Hindus, and I had deeply connected with him while studying and worshipping him in his temples in the Himalayas. He is also known as the Lord of the Dance, as he is the cosmic dancer, dancing the universe into existence every moment, and destroying it as it passes away every instant. I am a dancer. Shiva is one of my role models and inspirations, and I make an altar to him whenever I dance. I become him when I dance.
He has many consorts depending on his moods, and the type of creation he is engaged in. For instance, Parvarti is the Earth Mother and she works with all things earthy and fruitful. Kundalini takes the form of a serpent, dormant and asleep at the base of the spine. When awakened, she activates the energy body and opens up the heart. Kali is the protector and destroyer of illusion… and in this situation, Ann Marie had invoked her.
When Kali appeared in Ann Marie’s room, my heart overflowed with love, for in a spiritual sense Kali is my wife and partner. I completely disregarded the curse, because for me Kali’s appearance was a blessing. I bathed in her essence, and returned it, for the illusion of power, and power over, was being destroyed and I celebrated my freedom. The longer Ann Marie’s attack lasted, the stronger I felt. Finally, I honored my love and thanked Her for visiting me that auspicious night.
I politely thanked Ann Marie for the tea, cookies and engaging conversation, then turned and left. I entered the darkness, illuminated by the scintillating rainbow stars, and Halle Bop.
I never went back.