In SHAKTI YOGA this Friday - July 17th - we are practising with a focus on Sita - Rama's beloved consort & heroine of the epic Ramayana.
I must admit, I always come up against massive internal resistance, when invited to embody Her qualities of undying love and passive submission to the masculine in the face of repeated acts of cruelty, judgement and gross injustice against her - by her husband.
Too many echoes, I guess, on both a personal and global level of the violence and scars of patriarchy.
Personally, I'm reminded of my own controlling, misogynistic father, my abusive ex and all the times I have given away my heart, sex, power and self-respect to men unworthy of my love and energy, as a result of this codependent conditioning.
Globally, I look out and see the destruction wrought upon our beautiful planet by the rape and plunder mentality of the unawakened masculine that prevails, entrenched not just in male-privileging structures right across culture and society, but in the unconscious beliefs embedded within our psyches.
One notable example of which is the virgin/whore split, which creates impossible expectations and inner conflict for women and intimacy-crushing projections for men.
Sita, remember, was spurned and banished by Rama for her "impurity", after being abducted and held captive by a demon-king, even though she remained faithful to her husband throughout!
You can see how this narrative underpins present day beliefs in honour and ownership, that are used to justify rape and even murder of innocent women worldwide.
In all the years of my teaching, I've encountered only a handful of women, who have genuinely cleared and moved beyond this programming. It is my own ongoing practice.
And, of course, because of my focus on Awakening for Women, I am daily witness to the impact of this unquestioning submission to authority and the male gaze encoded into our minds and bodies, in, for example:
- women hating on their bodies - women hating on one another - women trading sex for "love" - women divorced from their pleasure - women ashamed of & disowning their sexuality - women waiting for permission to follow their truth - women dismissive/unaware of their own wisdom - women believing they are too much/not enough - women judging their emotions - women needing external validation
and, of course,
the proliferation of ABUSE BY SO MANY MALE YOGA & TANTRA TEACHERS AND "GURUS", which has almost exclusively been the abuse of women.
Patriarchy has taught us to revere fame, worldly success, money, charisma, prowess, power, hierarchical authority and the masculine to such an extent, that we transpose that framework onto the spiritual arena, blindly believing, following and submitting to men, who assert themselves as masters.
Teaching largely with reference to texts and practices written by men for men in male-dominated times.
Overlooking our inherent distinctions and feminine gifts.
Forgetting that we are equally powerful and equally wise.
Stopping the questions that naturally arise dead in our throats for fear of looking stupid or being ostracised.
Abandoning, even abusing, our bodies to keep up.
Gaslighting our own inner wisdom and intuition.
In the story of Rama and Sita, after one abuse too many, She asks Mother Earth to swallow Her up and disappears for good.
For me that represents the dark times of the past centuries, when the planet (and the masculine and feminine within us) has been so out of balance.
And yet now we're all part of a great Waking Up and Divine Feminine resurgence, being asked to play our part.
What can Sita teach us now?
How can we bring her qualities of mystical submission, profound compassion, fierce loyalty and undying love to bear in a way that is healthy, sincere and supportive of our personal and spiritual growth on both an individual and collective level?
Join me for an exploration of this theme on Friday, July 17th, 9-10.30am live on Zoom or over the next 7 days on catch-up.