Something I have been thinking about over the past few hours is what we might term ‘Western Shakta’ conceptry.
Now, to explicate what I mean by this … if we consider several of the major strands of Western Indo-European religious belief, we find that these are co-expressive of significant strands found amidst the Hindusphere. This absolutely should not surprise us. Same Gods, for a start.
So, when we are speaking about ‘Odinism’ or ‘Dionysian’ approaches … what we are implicitly discussing is that aforementioned Western correlate expression to what we find in the Shaivite sphere of Hinduism.
This matches up rather well for the mythology, of course – however the ‘interesting question’ has always been how well it works for the ‘theology’ … and also for the ‘esoteric’ side of things when it comes to the personal and much higher-level (in some ways) forms of practice.
I tend to believe that the pattern continues – and that the resonancies to be found elsewhere are so significantly strong that they to some extent enable us to ‘overcome’ the manifest gaps in actual detail which we have for these Western IE spheres of action.
Or, to perhaps address things in another manner – while there’s no way that we’ll be able to accurately reconstruct a workable paradigm for, say, breath-control for empowerment in the Nordic / Germanic sphere (or, at least, not to anything like the incredible depth, potency, and detail for which Pranayama is attested in the Hindusphere) … the fact that we can identify the Same God presiding over a strongly correlate-coterminous cognate approach to the Vital Energy of Breath [viz. my recent work ‘On The Mytholinguistics of the Smoking Breath’, etc.], should appear to suggest that similar mechanisms for engaging with the God and engaging with the Energy ought be at least somewhat effective.
Now, where I’m going with this is the aforementioned enthusiasm for ‘Western Shaktism’ conceptry that has been burgeoning in my mind.
The situation that we have, as applies the Indo-European religious spheres of the West is that we know that these have Goddess(es), and we also know that these are often pretty strongly correlate with the Hindu co-expressions of same.
We can also, intriguingly, identify an array of empowerments from and engagements with said Goddesses that directly resonate with what we find in the Hindusphere – again suggesting that there is considerable scope for exploring potential resonancies of tangible practice in these regards.
Although it has to be said that, for various reasons, what we have that’s come down to us in certain of these Western IE spheres is .. not quite so direct in extolling the glories and centrality of these figures. Even if the materials in question are still very much there in more fragmentary and brief attestation.
As for why all of this matters – the situation of the Shakta & Shaivite spheres in the East is that these … aren’t really ‘separate’ spheres. The ‘Venn Diagram’, if you like, is as appropriately overlapping as to, as with the Ardhanarishvara Shared-Aspect of Shiva & Devi, not really make for ‘discrete’ identities at all.
Rather, what we tend to observe is that housed within what might be approachable as a Shaivite understanding – is, irreducibly, the Devi-figure that is associated with it. Empowering it – giving it life, and enabling it to come forth.
A similar situation can be observed in various of the Western IE mythologies, as we have been subtly demonstrating and adducing for some time.
I am rather fond of drawing from the dual exemplars of Diomedes and Achilles in the Iliad to illustrate the fundamental truth of this – and not least because there are some downright remarkable points of concordancy to the relevant presentations and what we find in the Hindu esoteric tradition.
(I hesitate to say ‘the Tantrika sphere’, there – because, of course, we shall once more be deluged with people insisting on a ‘hard separation’ between Tantrik and Vedic elements, or braying about how Tantrik understandings “have” to be non-IE, or whatever it is this week, apparently in all cases quite regardless of the facts … but anyway, more upon all of this at some other time)
There, the situation is presented of Athena having Her Chosen, and acting to Empower these figures in rather remarkable ways. We have considered these at greater length elsewhere – but suffice to say that the situation of Diomedes being able to ‘see the world as it truly is’ with a veil of illusion lifted from his eyes (and the accompanying coruscating flame which appears to go with) … and then even manage to contend with Gods … matches up rather well with especial Siddhis bestowed by the cultivation of one’s ‘interior’ Shakti in the Eastern sphere.
Similarly, Achilles’ situation – wherein Athena bestows to him the empowerments of Ambrosia and Nectar immediately prior to his Roaring Rampage of Revenge (his Aristea toward the conclusion of the Iliad, we should perhaps more scholarly say) – can also find its due ‘resonancy’ in decidedly Devi-mediated Hindusphere esoteric terms.
In various of these cases, we should seem to behold the ‘Spirit’ of the warrior ‘raising up’ – viz. the understanding we have in Hindu / Sanskrit terms around ‘Manyu’, and directly linguistically cognate with the ‘Menos’ and ‘Menis’ encountered for Diomedes and Achilles respectively.
Something that, while we know – broadly speaking – ‘how to do’ this on an individual basis (although nothing is ever ‘truly’ individual in these spheres – we walk with Divinity and lines of heritage and initiation all of the time) here in the Hindusphere … has become something that’s more relegated to Myth in the West precisely because it is difficult to ‘replicate’ the mythic occurrences out here for people who aren’t those already written about in the myths in question.
What approaching the myths in this manner entails, therefore, is the recognition that while the words printed upon the page have Gods and Goddesses turning up (often seemingly semi-intangibly – for most mortals, at any rate) and acting in manners that are ‘human-resemblant’ (so, for instance, blocking a projectile by blowing to cause it to change course; or moving from one point to another as a courier by (meta-)physically bringing the Empowering Elixir to a hero; etc.) … there are also ‘esoteric’ dimensions to each and every, all of these acts.
And that hidden beneath the legendary (mytho-)poetry lie procedures and processes via which the human heroes of these tellings engaged with divinity to be able to receive such favouritism and empowerment from same.
This, vitally importantly, does NOT mean vitiating the divinity and theism of The Gods in pursuit of such things, of course. The fact of a Goddess existing – a-priori and external to one’s self – does, correspondingly, not vitiate that there is some ‘resonancy’ for Her and particular of Her Potency that may be found within the individual.
Indeed, quite the contrary – in order to truly unlock such potential, it is absolutely imperative to be able to cultivate the proper homage, proper regard, and proper engagement with said Capital C Goddess in the first instance.
There shall also almost certainly be manners via which one might attempt to ‘brute-force’ empowerments – drawing Runes upon one’s self in a manner vaguely similar to how Mantras can be ‘placed’ upon the body by an experienced Tantrika professional, for instance.
Yet even that should not likely get around the fact that Language – especially ‘Esoteric Language’, ‘High Speech’, ‘Empowered Speech’ – often should seem to similarly be Goddess mediated and guided or directed.
The exemplar for this in the West is presumably also to be found amidst the Norse – wherein Sturluson’s Ynglinga Saga makes a point of identifying the traditions of magic accomplished through song as being bestowed to the Aesir (and, thence, humanity) through the actions of Freyja.
Now I could go on at great length about all of this – and no doubt in the coming weeks I shall be doing just exactly that.
But to bring things back to the ‘core’ of my conceptualization here –
What a ‘Western Shakta’ saliency requires is twofold:
First and foremost, something that we have long been doing already. The re-establishment of the mythos and theology around Indo-European Goddess(es) in the Western IE mythologies – guided by the points of clear resonancy and coterminity with the Hindusphere understandings for Devi.
This does not simply entail the ‘linking up’ of this deific expression over here with that one over there ; nor even the rather more involved work of demonstrating how this myth featuring this deific expression is the same as that myth featuring that deific expression. As eminently useful and positive as all of that is.
Rather it demands the strong attention to the relevant theology – how the mythology, the divinity ‘in motion’ and in active ‘engagement’ (or, we should more properly say – being actively engaged with by us) is to be perceived and undertaken.
And that, really, is the second sphere required for this.
The exploration of what can be recovered, reconstructed, or even simply reasonably extrapolated … in the more esoteric sphere, as well as the practical sphere (and, as ever, both at once – the practical side of the esoteric, actually doing things rather than merely reading about them); with the goal of ‘self-cultivation’ and ‘collective, collaborative engagement’ and accompanying greater engagement with the Goddess(es) Who make(s) all of this possible in the first place.
So – as I say.
It is time for a ‘Western Shaktism’ quest.
One which explores and maps – and re-illuminates, as best it can (even, especially, whilst utilizing borrowed Fire from the East – which is a Dawn, of sorts, one supposes) – these vitally important considerations in the Western Indo-European traditions; drawing, as ever, capacious guidance and inspiration as to not just ‘what is possible’ but ‘what is necessary’, ‘what is righteous’, ‘what is Right’, from that Western IE sphere’s cousins in the still-living, thriving, flourishing IE-integral realm to the east.
As we would say over here in the Hindusphere:
Jai Mata DI !