Alana Grainger | Honouring cycles and the Goddess Dhumavati 
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Honouring cycles and the Goddess Dhumavati 

Everywhere, all around us, cycles are happening. Beginning, sustaining, ending and returning to start all over again. Cycles of time, weather, seasons, relationships, careers, life, even the movement of our breath.  All are ebbing and flowing in a constant state of motion. Yet how often to do really acknowledge the transition point? The precise moment when there is a distinct shift in energy that is so subtle it can barely be felt let alone, noticed. If we are able to be present during these moments, a whole new world opens up and we experience life at an even deeper level. 

Nothing is forever. 

Sometimes all you want is to hold on, other times all you want to do is let go. Pulling and pushing. Attachment and aversion. In between both of these states there is a tipping point that so often gets missed and over looked.

On the ‘high’ side of life, it is the pinnacle of all our efforts and goals achieved, the moment we are right on top before we begin to descend down.  Most of the time we don’t notice this point has come to pass till later. Even more illusive is the witnessing of what happens after dissolution and before creation-this too is a pinnacle but one that happens in direct contrast to the ‘high’ of life. This is the process that the greater collective want to speed through as being in that place known as ‘the void’ is downright scary.

To be able to witness these transitions consciously offers us the opportunity to weave a deeper and more authentic life. 

I often hear of people speaking about looking forward to something that is coming in the future, or commiserating about something that has passed. Both negate the present moment. This is a common conversation but if one is able to stand back from the present moment and witness a situation from a third person perspective, it takes awareness to a whole new level. Allow me to share with you an example. 

My time here in Bali is coming to an end. I have lived on this magical island for the better part of two years. I have learnt so much and been gifted with many incredible and life changing experiences. Now though, I feel that it is time for me to return to my homeland and share the wisdom I have been blessed with. 

If I focus my attention on the present (which I’m most definitely doing!) I see Bali through the eyes of a tourist again and I am constantly awed by the offerings, temples, sights, smell and beauty that it is known for. Gone are my frustrations of traffic, pollution, misunderstandings, miscommunication and other ‘Bali inconvienences’. To be able to see the world around me again with eyes that are firmly established on present moment awareness, is a gifts that comes from consciousness and fills me with profound gratitude for my surroundings as I know it will soon come to an end. 

It’s always at the end that we see what we have taken for granted and was right in front of us the whole time. 

The shifting of internal seasons

I have noticed, very distinctly, that within, there is a turning of my leaves, their colour and consistency becoming lighter and dryer. A cooler wind is blowing, pulling me off in a different direction and beckoning me to a place that I have known before. I dutifully honour, acknowledge and accept this call, yet, I also root myself firmly down into the present moment to witness this transition consciously as I move into the next stage of my life. 

I seek to worship and give thanks for the birth, sustainment and subsequent death that I am now experiencing. To a certain extent, I am watching myself as I have known myself to be die, and it is honestly the most exquisite experience. I am moved beyond words by it. My mantra that I chant daily has even come to alter as a reflection of this. 

Chanting mantra is not simply repeating the vibrational sounds to bring one into alignment with a certain deity, it is the deity itself. There is no separation between mantra and the divine, they are both one and the same. When you repeat mantra, you are calling forth that aspect of the divine that exists within you.

Therefore, I am submitting myself to merge with the one who is known as the Goddess of disappointment and letting go. She who is the one who brings about endings and is the space known as the void: Dhumavati. 

Dhumavati

She is the appearance of an old woman, also known as ‘the crone’. She is described as being weary, drawn, tired, worn and leathered. Not attractive, even unsightly in form, She is wrapped up in dirty clothes and not wearing any jewellery, representing a sense of loss that one experiences when in the void.  She has dishevelled hair, an stern expression spread out across Her face as one is when perplexed by life’s turn of events and is without mercy. Yet, in Her far off gaze, She sees what we cannot.

She is the representation of what a person rejects when confronted with loss and Her formidable form strikes fear in the hearts of many.  So why approach Her at all?

For Her gifts are numerous to those with a trained eye. Though She is seen as the ‘inauspicious one’, She reveals to us that although beauty fades, our divine self is always intact. No matter how shattered the outside world can be, it cannot touch ones inner lumionosity or even sully it.  As all begins to fall away in our lives, when we can revive this knowledge that lies within and embody it, then we have accessed Dhumavati’s blessing. 

Detachment, emptiness and freedom are Her gifts which she bestows upon those who have the courage to court Her and pay reverent tribute to Her. She is the sentinel presiding at the doorway of the in-between state with a willingness to usher us into the next phase, but first we must pay homage to Her. She awaits us at the threshold of what has been and what is yet to come, asking us to stay a while and appreciate all of it. 

She says: 

‘Be with me and feel the full presence of emptiness: it spaciousness and infinite ability to hold all dissolution AND all manifestation within the dark depths that are my being’.

If we summon the courage to look Her in the eye, we may be able to see that Dhumavati is beingness in it’s raw form. She is to us what we most fear: death. To view Her in a different light, She is also the one who enfolds us nightly, drawing us into deep dreamless sleep. She carries us through this silent transition and leaves us at the doorstep as we wake to reality, having rested in the void.

If seen from this different perspective, does this then change ones opinion of Her? For then She becomes the deity that ferries our souls to a place of rejuvenation before we are reborn into our lives again every day. Dhumavati is the one who shows us that nothing is forever and is our guide assisting us to move in the direction of what will evolve out of us from this moment forth. 

New life.

I do not know what or who I am going to be reborn into, but I have an idea, a goal and target that I am aiming for. I also know that I cannot move into that next phase of my life carrying along with me all I currently am. I have to sacrifice myself and die. I have to ritually give myself over to something bigger than me: the great unknown. I have to not only trust and believe but KNOW that there is something that is coming towards me- a new body suit and role that I will step into even though I cannot quite make it out yet. It is both alluring and exciting mixed with feelings of sadness, grief and a certain sense of longing for what might have once been. 

This active closing of doors is reshaping and redefining the parameters of my being. As I spoke about in one of my recent blog posts (How discernement brings refinement), I have recently began carefully selecting the people and situations I find myself in. This cultivation of awareness has facilitated the shift of who I am going to be in the future. 

There were times when I was surrounded by dazzling lights, beautiful people and picturesque settings but eventually they became dull and lifeless.  No amount of extra sensory pleasure could fill the void I was experiencing within. When I moved away from these situations (no matter how amazing and perfect they looked from the outside) I began to feel more whole. I might have been around far less people and may not have been as social, but the interactions I had were more uplifting. There was a certain sense of ‘loss’ I felt when witnessing the life that I had come to know so well and inhabit, disintegrate before my eyes. When I sat and got comfortable in the void I knew that something else was coming for me. Something else was going unfold. I just had to be patient and wait. 

Proficiency. 

As this scenario has played itself out several times in my life now, I am getting a lot more comfortable with it. There is not as much fear or doubt, even these emotions still rear their heads and want to be acknowledged. I witness them arising and dutifully give them the time and space, doing my best to remain equanimous in the face of them.

It is just like riding a bike, as the more times you do it, the easier it becomes. Same with transitions into this state of the unknown. As I can reflect upon the trajectory of my own life, there has always been the presence of cycles. Even when facing ‘the end/the cremation ground’ some of the energy of the entire process that I have just gone through is the soil upon which the new springs from. This rich and nourishing earth is the ideal conditions in which to plant a new crop.

The more we can bare witness to the changing phases of life and revering them, the more adept we become at seeing that nothing is ever really the end. Everything that happens is carrying us forward to the next stage of our growth. It is in these very, VERY special moments, when all we want to do is be out of them, when we commit to remaining open in the unpleasantness and brokenness, that Dhumavati approaches. She takes us by the hand and remind us that underneath the what we are currently experiencing, is a field greater than what can be perceived and if we remain here with Her, She’ll share us the next instalment of our unfoldment. 

Youtube meditation with the Goddess Dhumavati: