The dance of Kali and Shiva

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I have spent over 20 years married or in an intimate relationship with what people would call strong and powerful women. My point of attraction trying to control the uncontrollable came from attachment trauma. But my childhood traumas are not the focus on my blog today. Many men today are in relationship and in love with such women and I would like to share my experience to support them having a better relationship.

Kali is one of the most popular forms of the divine in India, especially among women. She is the great destroyer, even more powerful than Shiva, and in her destruction, she allows new things to be born. In this way, she is both a killer and a mother. She often appears when the prettier, softer goddesses are enraged, when a male force like Shiva or a demon on the battlefield tries to control, placate or subjugate her. According to Tantric philosophy, Kali represents Shakti, the fundamental feminine energy that animates everything and will not be fully controlled by masculine force. She also represents the rage that arises when a woman feels underestimated by her partner, or when she feels that he refuses to show up for her.

St Paul's creed for women

Men have oppressed women for thousand of years. Women reveal prettier faces most of the time because, generally, they catch more flies with honey however their collective repressed rage and anger towards men is real and explodes periodically in their intimate relationships. Women who have suffered sexual abuse, abandonment, emotional repression from an invalidating family environment or neglect from an emotionally unavailable father will be even more prone to Kali energy. Kali represents the active destructive uncontrollable force that can be witnessed often with women and sometimes with men during intimate quarrels. To be at the receiving end of a person spewing the negative side of Kali energy, which is hatred fueled from sexual energies, is one of the most difficult energetic and emotional experience to withstand. And I speak from experience!

funny billboard from scorned woman

“Hell hath no fury, like a woman scorned,” is a proverb written in the late 17th century by William Congreve. It refers, of course, to a woman scorned in love who becomes consumed with hatred. She will either self-destruct (creative energy turned on itself) or destroy all that is around them  including her own children. Hatred and its many forms of disgust, repulsion, rejection, and dislike, do not seem like a choice for the person caught in this fury. However “A woman scorned” needs to eventually admit that she chooses to perceive herself as scorned if she wants to heal. While women are more prone to Kali destructive energy than men, just like men are more prone to disconnection and sociopathy, men can also display Kali energy. I was 19 when I fell in love for the first time. Her name was Carole. We had a passionate love story that lasted 3 months. I made some insensitive hurtful comments without realizing it. It broke her heart so she pulled away. I felt abandoned in return and we broke up though we loved each other very much. Quickly after, she went for another guy. I felt deeply betrayed. For months following the break-up, I held intense hatred towards her. I refused to take any responsibility for the split and chose instead to make her bad. I was full of anger, bitterness and resentment. During this period when I was boiling with anger, I had the downstairs neighbor mentioning a couple of times a leak from my shower to his apartment. I did not pay attention as my mind was so immersed with blames and feelings of unfairness towards Carole. One early morning after I had taken a shower, someone banged on my door very loudly. I opened and my neighbor stormed into my apartment completely enraged. He pushed me then held me violently against the wall and threatened to kill me if I did not get this leak fixed. Then he left. I was left completely shocked and confused. I had the wisdom to realize that my neighbor was the external manifestation of my repressed rage, and I started a process of healing that eventually led to forgiveness, and letting go of the relationship.

This unprocessed Kali energy is the cause of many wars and strife in our world. Wasn’t the Trojan War waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta? After close examination, you will find that many world conflicts are originated from Kali.

Although it is uncomfortable being on the receiving end of that energy, the remedy is simple…remove yourself from the vicinity of the individual if you can. The one who is venting the stream of creative energy in rage and hatred, however, is more trapped in a living hell than ever we could imagine. Unchecked, this corrosive energy will consume the person completely, destroying his/her health and leading to a complete break down of their life.

Not all Kali energy is negative as it can be emancipating as well. When a woman says “I need to find my Kali side,” or “I need some Kali energy,” she’s looking for a way to stand up for herself, to discover her inner fierceness, or to express the outrageous side of her sexuality. There is tremendous power and appeal in that energy. Aren’t we men fearful but also so attracted to the femme fatale? As long as there is awareness coming with this energy, it can very liberating especially if the person understands that the aim in expressing this Kali energy is to discover the hurt and pain behind it so that it may be released.

Let me now share with you 25 years of trial & error dealing with the Kali energy of my partners hoping it will speed up your understanding and improve your relationship.

In my early twenties, when Kali would show up, my immediate reaction would be to remove myself and go to my “cave” for a couple of days. It was a very ineffective approach. My partner would feel abandoned and unloved as the result. A woman wants to feel contained by a man. My attitude was more that of a boy than a man. They felt they could not be received as a woman so they would break-up with me, which would be incredibly painful because of my own abandonment traumas. Looking for solutions, I read at that time “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” from John Gray. As a young man, I decided that I would not retract anymore to my cave when Kali would show-up in my partner, as I decided to commit to have a life-long marriage.

man withdrawing emotionally to his cave

Kali would then show-up about once or twice a month in my partner. At first, I was terrified but held my commitment. I engaged with Kali, tried to bring her to reason, lost my temper, cried at times, begged for mercy. Kali defeated me every single time and it would take me about 3 days to recover emotionally. Kali was satisfied however. As this cycles were so difficult to endure, I looked for solutions in self-improvement books to find a way out of my misery. I strengthened my mind with new knowledge. For example, Wayne Dyer would say “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours” or “What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life”. Another one from Wayne Dyer that I used a lot to deal with the borderline crises of my partner was “There is a story concerning the Buddha, who is in the company of a fellow traveler who tests this great teacher with derogatory, insulting, disparaging, and bitter responses to anything the Buddha says. Every day, for three days when the Buddha spoke, the traveler responded by calling him a fool, and ridiculing the Buddha in some arrogant fashion. Finally, at the end of the third day, the traveler could stand it no more. He asked, “How is it that you are able to be so loving and kind when all I’ve done for the past three days is dishonor and offend you? Each time I am disobliging to you, you respond in a loving manner. How is this possible?” The Buddha responded with a question of his own for the traveler. “If someone offers you a gift, and you do not accept that gift, to whom does the gift belong?”. Armed with this new knowledge, I was starting to give Kali a decent fight.

buddha's tale

In a middle of conflict, I would then stay physically present but would however use my mind as a shield, not engaging but rather visualizing myself being squeezed and spreading love instead. Or like the Buddha, I would attempt to withstand anger from my partner in equanimity. With enough practice, my mind had started to defeat Kali. It would sometimes take hours or a whole night but I would be sure not to expand too much energy. With no more physical and emotional energy left in her body, my partner would then eventually collapse and go to sleep though it may take many hours of the night before reaching this point. Endurance and patience were the key. Following this Kali cycle, she would be completely drained and disconnected for 3 days and I would just let this pass though it was uncomfortable and separating. Reflecting on this period, I can see how I developed my own demon of disconnection to defeat the demon of Kali. This was a war not a relationship. I learned not to engage with Kali too because Kali was not rational and distorting facts to win her war. Instead, I stayed physically present, looking at the eyes of my partner trying to lend her energy in order to get back to a rational space if her mind had been usurped by the wrath of Kali. However,  I realize now it was not different than Shiva trying to placate Kali which would infuriate her even more. So I learned during this phase not to get affected by Kali, and to stay in control for safety. The suppressed anger however never healed, on the contrary. So much toxic energy had accumulated that there was no space for a loving relationship anymore. It was a power struggle. Even as the marriage eventually ended, Kali’s wrath is still pursuing me, refusing to let me go.

Then I started a relationship with a much more conscious woman with potent Kali energy. Our Shiva and Kali would fight too but she would bring remarkable awareness in the process. I started to take more responsibility for the anger of my partner realizing she was expressing negative emotions I was repressing. I became familiar with the concept of emotional tanking. I became more aware of my habit of deflecting. Basically, I would do or say something that hurt my partner who would then react with a negative emotion. I would shame her for her reaction, which would escalate the argument further, which eventually may trigger me too. We worked very hard on solving our disputes however she could not emotionally regulate and I lacked attunement, a lethal combination. We both had very powerful protector personalities to cover our damaged wounded inner children so we committed to only bring our vulnerable selves. Easier said than done! I acquired more knowledge and started to become much better at validating her emotions and containing her by acknowledging the parts I was responsible of. I made a lot of conscious efforts to see her, feel her and understand her, as she would go through these crises. We followed an analytical approach, which gave us a lot of new knowledge and wisdom. Unfortunately, over time, she became more and more of a pressure cooker. While I was able to let go, release and heal our disputes as they came and went as there was so many highs in the relationship that compensated for the struggles. On her side however, she built resentment and she started to see me as her perpetrator. She was more and more divided with heightened intensity between the love she had for me and the terror from being hurt emotionally. Her pain became so intense that she eventually broke off the relationship out of survival. I felt deeply hurt and confused from the break-up as I thought I was just holding healthy boundaries.

cacao ceremony

Last week, I decided to attend a cacao ceremony in Salt Lake City that was held by friends. The ceremony started softly as several of us started sharing their thoughts and feelings in a contained way. Then, two of the ladies that were experienced shadow workers started to bring their Kali energies. It felt a bit unreal like I was in an improvisational theater. They were screaming, behaving angrily with an intensity that felt at odd with the spiritual setting of a cacao ceremony. One of them even took a glass and broke it in thousand pieces on the floor. Did they have unresolved anger issues or were we tanking them? It was unclear. At some point, I attempted to contain the Kali energy of one of them as I was used to. It went well until she lashed back at me, which triggered me as I was just trying to help her without any ulterior motives (at least consciously). I shared openly my trigger with the group. I became aware I was again a match to Kali. They supported me to go into my own fears. I saw clearly that I was feeling unsafe and out-of-control. I took responsibility for my state and attempted to go deeper to see what was lying under the fear. I started to breath heavily to bring up the repressed emotions. I first observed my own anger. The group continued to act as a safe container as I went deeper. I realized that her wrath was her desperate attempt for connection. Kali wanted people closer to her. I could see how my attempts to stay in control with my mind were just alienating Kali even more as it made me more distant emotionally. While I thought I was deescalating an argument, I saw how all these years, I was instead intensifying Kali’s rage by aggravating her abandonment fears and her desperate need for intimacy. All my attempts to be in control were creating more chaos as I was not meeting Kali’s needs. Kali wanted to be loved as she is, she wanted me closer, she wanted to be fully contained by me. She wanted to be contained more with my body and emotions than my mind. With the help of breathwork, I started to play somatically with Kali. I made sounds, moved around, got in touch with own beast, matched the intensity of her vibration and entered into the chaos with confidence and fearlessness. My body and emotions had taken over. Kali felt seen and she shifted. She started crying and connected to her inner wound. Healing started for her. On my side, I felt a strong sensation in my belly connected with shame. I had made the expression of volatile & wild emotions so unacceptable that I was struggling with my own expression of engaging with Kali, judging it as ridiculous. I had made these emotions so unacceptable in me that I was selecting partners to manifest them externally. I saw my worry and my fear of being judged harshly by others if I were to lose my temper. I saw the projection of this fear in my severe judgment of people who are lacking self-control. I saw how for so many years I had been shaming Kali and made things much worse in the process. All my life, I had been focused in controlling other people reactions, in evaluating situations to create the desired outcome, in manipulating reality through my mind. There was no spontaneity. My mind was in charge to make that next sale, to make the woman I loved happy, to be liked by others, to create the desired outcome. But as long as my inner “manager” was in charge, I was failing because I lacked authenticity and people feel the difference. People cannot trust in-authenticity. I became aware that being an artist is to express from within without attempting to control the outcome. If I were to make the shift from an engineer to an artist, I had to face that fear. I finally gave in and surrendered. I saw all the marketing that inundate us daily as part of the same manipulation and mind control. I made the commitment to step into my authenticity, into the unknown and stop controlling the reality that will be created as a result. We are messy inside and this is OK. I am setting an intention to live a spontaneous life. Unfortunately, to learn this very important lesson, all my attachments were destroyed and I lost the people I loved most in my life to reach this realization. I am the one who did it, not Kali. Kali only wanted to be loved and embraced fully and bring awareness to my own demons.

I am setting the intention to stop fighting with Kali but rather dance with her.

dance of Kali and Shiva

Women (or men): do you recognize the Kali energy in you? How does it manifest?

Men (or women): how do you respond to Kali energy in your partners? What are your fears associated with this expression?

11 thoughts on “The dance of Kali and Shiva

  1. I believe anger is a desperate attempt to be understood after many times of trying to be heard in my experience. I have memories of abuse and my mother’s wrath brought much physical pain. She was confined by the expectations of my father, 4 children and her own trauma. Her diet was horrible and her nerves were always aggravated.
    Women are very hormonal before their periods. A hormonal rage is usually a build up of emotion, and also an animalistic attempt to have boundaries known to others.
    In the place I use to manage, employees would argue with each other. Usually the men. One time I tried to break up an argument between two men as one of them was recovering from heroine abuse. He stopped me and said “we aren’t fighting, we are working something out.” He was right. They argued until they came to a conclusion and worked together as a cohesive unit.
    Why women have never been shown the same courtesy, I will never know. Perhaps a woman’s anger and what she has to work out with her peers is much less mundane and much more complex, and when met with resistance can be a force of ruin. Everytime I have anger, I find out what it is that needs to be worked out. Everytime I am obsessively undergoing a negative downward spiral of long held resentment, I have to write about it, sing about it, weed my garden and claim my grounds.
    Sometimes I wish if I were angry that my anger could be met with the same sentiment, so as to work it out. Of course not so that both parties can annihilate each other, no. But to reach a climax together and return to common ground. It is a part of mirroring in my understanding, and experience with managing unruly people. One time I had a gangster for an employee and every time I was professional it created a gap between us farther than what I ever intended. The day I looked at him and said, “the fuck are you looking at?” Is the day we became friends.

    ‘It’s dare’
    By: gorillaz
    Great song to motivate and understand unruly people.

  2. When my girl friend is upset about something I did or said. I pick her up and put her on my lap. And I tell her: “Tell me sweetie…. What is up ? Why are you upset ?”. You have to realize that under anger there is always hurt. A part of them is hurt, that is why the anger comes out. The most important thing to do in that moment. Is not to judge them and acknowledge their feelings… It is never my intent to hurt her. But sometimes something I say or do may trigger an old wound from her childhood or past relationship. I see it as my duty to remain balanced, present and in compassion. So no judging, not getting triggered myself. But really being there as an loving presence, creating a safe space in which she can express how she feels. The moment she feels I heard, I truly heard her and understand where she is coming from and acknowledge those feelings, it takes of the charge off her emotions. Hence Kali as you like to call it disappears. As she is no longer needed. Because I have listened and acknowledged here without, judgement, blame or becoming defensive. But truly listened to her from an unconditionally loving/compassionate and understanding space. There is now space for me to share how I experienced it from my perspective. What my intentions really were… etcetera. When she realizes it was never my intent to hurt her or upset her, and she understands my perspective as well. It is done… All is left is the healing or integration of the aspects that got triggered. Usually we give voice to that as well. What we realized. What we felt etc. Than we laugh, hug, kiss whatever. And move on with our lives.. Over the years we have become pretty proficient at this. Shaming your partner, becoming defensive or making how they feel or what they do wrong is probably the worst thing you could do. And as you have already discovered only serves to hurt your partner more, further fanning the flames of rage aka Kali. So… It requires a degree of presence, compassion, awareness and tremendous balance to execute what I just described above. But all practice makes perfect right. And this too can be mastered…

  3. I’m just reading this for the first time and feel the need to reread several times to absorb the content. In the meantime, I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. It truly moves me. 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

  4. This truly helped me see from the mans side. I saw somecrevelations for male and female. Saw where my relationship needs assistance. It really takes going under the layers of protection we put around us to be protected, to feel safe. We lash out when we aren’t feeling safe and protected, heard or felt. All we really want is to be loved and seen

  5. Kali is the destroyer of crap!
    She’s the Mum who saves her children.
    She helps correct mistakes in consciousness to bring space for love.
    She’s tough love.
    We need her to destroy our demons.
    She shows us how not to hurt each other.
    To dance with her is to be guided & freed, to find our blind spots that will hurt ourselves or others.
    She clears the way for Light.
    Love her, welcome her, feel the tenderness she makes way for.
    Let her destroy defensiveness & shame.
    She loves.
    This is some of the truth of aunentic Kali energy.
    As Divinely intended for the Highest Good of All.
    Namaste 🙏✨

  6. I love this post and it gives me perspective on how my partner feels when I’m completely enveloped in Kali’s energy.
    I have yet been able to experience that container you mentioned, which is all I ever want. The only thing you can do is dance with Kali, without your ego engaging, without withdrawal, and take on the energy of complete consciousness, which is Shiva’s energy. There is a famous depiction of Shiva juggling balls of fire in a dance.

  7. I’m sorry about your alienation—and Kali energy of the women you had. That sort of emotional outbursts in your marriage 2x a month does not seem normal. Especially if she has alienated your children. That’s child abuse. That’s more than Kali energy; it’s sickness needed to be healed. As for your more recent marriage… resentment is a killer of love. You did nothing wrong. She did nothing wrong. You were both trying your best. As a woman I want to say, be a man and. Go find a woman who will treat you like a king. You don’t need to suffer bad treatment under the guise of Kali energy.

  8. Pingback: Immature projection-based coping mechanisms

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