I Bow to Kali Today — I Embrace This Darkness, Let It Have Me!

A dear friend in this collective response to the horror that appears to have “taken” this country sent me the following excerpt from a newsletter. There was no link. And yet, I feel it’s so important for so many, I am (without permission, yet) posting the entirety here — with credit to the author. I’ll try to get in touch with her too.

Kali was projected on the Empire State Building as part of a documentary project called “Race to Extinction.” Unfortunately, many far-Right Christians believe she represents Satan. But she is simply a Hindu goddess who represents the darkness that destroys illusions (destruction of illusion) … the darkness that finally breaks through the darkness of human minds, darkened by fear and ego. And, for me, how, in facing our own personal “darknesses” we become free to let them go, and step into light.

This was my (Ami’s) Facebook Post for Today (12/29), as introduction to this piece, on my breaking heart (if you have already read this, skip down to the essay on Kali).

While I have been sharing many “facts” and articles, and while there is a kind of ongoing “war” of news — right vs. liberal — and the mess of “fake news” and Russian propaganda that has created this bizarre world of conspiracy-theories and non-consensual reality, and while as journalist, I still believe in good journalism and facts and, right now, The Washington Post — to be honest, I need NONE of that to know that that our incoming “President” is bad news of the worst and most horrific kind. … Please stay with me.

Please stay with me, even though this seems to be “negative.” You know how scientists do studies like: “Are office workers with windows and natural light more productive?” And you sit there and say: “Duh! Yes. How much money did they spend to figure that out?”

… Well, in the most intuitive and obvious way for me, and for so many of us, it is simply clear that Mr. Trump in his current state of mind and thinking is some kind of darkness — the darkness of dishonesty, the darkness of agression and fear, the darkness of shutting people up with threats and intimidation, the darkness of hostility toward women, the darkness of racism and white supremacy and Nazi-ism and twisting the facts and self-aggrandizement.

Let’s be CLEAR that democracy, the Constitution and the First Amendment are now gravely threatened; and let’s just admit that it seems at this point like a given that Trump has been accepting direction from Vladimir Putin all along. And that Republicans have sold this country down the river (for the last 8 years at least) in order to “win” at all costs. And given all of this, HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THIS KIND OF DARKNESS?

People have continued to send me “happy thought” links and messages. I do not want them now. They are not appropriate to the situation at hand. When someone dies, we grieve and feel sad and maybe depressed. It is simply unhealthy to deny these emotions — to push them away or to “cover them up.” I am NOT saying we need to stay in darkness, or depression or despair, but I am saying that attempts to “cover over” what is true and authentic for us are a postponement of our truth, of our authenticity that will haunt us in the end.

My dear friend Diana sent me an essay on Kali, the Hindu goddess of darkness and destruction of false illusions. Marianne Williamson has also been writing about her of late. The essay speaks to the “fascism” of a false spirituality that negates human feelings and projects a certain sanitized “image” or illusion of spirituality.

I read this essay this morning and finally allowed myself to just cry … and cry and cry. I cry because of the evil that people do — whether intended and mis-guided or not. I cry because of the deep lostness all around us we now see. I cry for Mother Earth. Above all, I cry for my country and our constitution and Bill of Rights. I am surprised at my deep loyalty to all of this, now that it is threatened. I cry out of patriotism.

I will not cry forever. I am not asking for “help,” in terms of helping me feel better. I ask you to cry with me, if that’s what you feel. And in this crying together, we meet at the core of heartbreak, where there is Love and resolve and right action and peace.

Do you want to cheer me up? Leave me alone. My heart is broken. I will allow it to break all the way … into freedom.



Donald Trump became president of the United States. But make no mistake, it is really Holy Darkness that won this election.

Last year, Kali, the Hindu Goddess of death, destruction and resurrection, appeared on the Empire State Building, projected as an avatar of conservation by the filmmakers of Racing Extinction, a documentary about the environmental catastrophe now upon us. At the time I was so struck by the image, I wrote an article about the apparition. This is the sign of the times, Kali Takes New York, I raved.

On election night, as the results were projected onto the Empire State Building, all I could see was Kali’s fierce stare. This was déjà vu. This time, Kali took America.

Donald Trump might already be picking his deplorable cabinet, but it is the Dark Mother, the destroyer of worlds, oracle of holy change, the tenderhearted be-header, that won this country. Kali has brought down our house in a shocking blow; all the illusions of America, stripped in a single night. We are not who we thought we were. Now we must get ready to stand in her fires of transmutation. We need them.

Listening to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, one had the impression that this was a different woman from the political candidate that we have come to begrudgingly accept as the champion of the Democratic Party, assured by the establishment to become the first Madam President.

Stripped of her hopes and lifelong dreams, speaking honestly and transparently about her pain, this woman in a dark suit was a far cry from the controlled, manicured version of her shiny political persona. Stripped of her agenda, stripped of her certainties, this Hilary might have won the country. This Hillary touched our hearts. This is what we look like after the Dark Mother has had her way with us.

We stop shining of the false light. As our heart breaks, as our veneer cracks, we open to more integrity, more truth, more tenderness. We stop trying to be all things for all people. We become this one small thing, feigning nothing.

“Only to the degree that people are unsettled is there any hope for them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Paradoxically, the price of true hope, it seems, is being unsettled beyond repair. And this is exactly the opportunity our political moment is presenting to us all. Right now, from all corners of our shocked culture, there are cries of hope, demands of needing to become even brighter lights amidst the spreading darkness. I disagree.

I think that this moment gives us an opportunity for reckoning only if instead of running for the light, we let ourselves go fully into the dark. If instead of resolving our discomfort too quickly, we consider the possibility of staying in the uncomfortable, in the irreconcilable, in the unsettled.

Before we rush in to reanimate the discourse of hope prematurely, we must yield to what is present. Receptivity is the great quality of darkness; darkness hosts everything without exception. The Dark Mother has no orphans. We must not send suffering into exile — the fear, the heartbreak, the anger, the helplessness all are appropriate, all are welcome. We can’t dismember ourselves to feel better.

We can’t cut of the stream of life and expect to heal.

Cutting off the inconvenient is a form of spiritual fascism. By resolving to stay only in the light in times of immense crisis, we split life; engage in emotional deportation, rather than hosting the vulnerable. Difficult feelings need to be given space so they can come to rest. They need contact.

In a culture of isolation, be the invitation to everything.

The intuition that the Dark Mother has returned is pervasive if we heed the signs, and our thirst for the dark is deep. Her every apparition spreads like wildfire. My Kali article went viral within hours, it was as if that image of Kali up there on top of the world overlooking Manhattan nourished the collective soul.

There is a great yearning for change in the order of things, and the Great Mother is leading the revolution. I’m with her.

Christian theologian Mathew Fox speaks extensively about the reemergence of the Dark Feminine archetype into our collective consciousness in his piece The Return of the Black Madonna. It is really in darkness, he reminds us, “where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies.”

We are collectively getting so sick and tired of lies, of the superficial, of the shiny neon lights of pop culture, pop spirituality and politics as usual. We thirst for the Real. And the Dark Mother is here to quench.

We saw darkness reclaiming its place also in the passing of Leonard Cohen, this most belated of biblical prophets. He left us with his last and perhaps most spiritually astute album, “You want it Darker,” which has skyrocketed in popularity. The entire album is the ultimate invitation into Holy Darkness. Once he famously preached that the cracks are how the light gets in. Now, he assured us God wants it darker.

Many have interpreted it to be an expression of hopelessness. No. He is asking the only relevant question of our time, whether we can swallow the pill of darkness and still say Hineni! I am here, God, here I am, bring it on! In his last interview about the album, Cohen says that this track is about offering ourselves up when the “emergency becomes articulate.” I think we can all agree that it has finally become articulate.

The mystics tell us that we need spiritual crisis. That we must enter the Cloud of Unknowing, the deepest despair, the most profound darkness within, without hope, in order to grow spiritually. They call such a time of deep crisis, of great uncertainty, the Dark Night of the Soul. There, in our radical desperation, in our absolute abandonment, it is said, the Divine Doctor awaits. Holy Darkness was Her medicine all along.

Darkness heals us without a spoonful of sugar; the wound is the gift, and this election is a good dose.

As the spirit of the Dark Mother hovers upon the collective waters, she has much to teach us. Kali is the great protectress and ultimate sacred activist. She is standing at Standing Rock, roaring against the black snake and the abuses of corporate capitalism. She is marching in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

She is here mourning the dying out of species and showing her terrible tongue at the shocking xenophobic, nationalist regressionism swallowing the planet. She is the changing of the tides, and she means business. She has come to burn up the old paradigm of separation and transfigure the collective heart.

Scientists tell us we live amidst the 6th extinction. Every 20 minutes, another species disappears from our planet. Our oceans are dying, our rivers are burning. Kali beckons us to embrace our sacred fury and let our heart roar for all living beings. Like her, we must rise as protectors, else perish as fools. She knows that we belong to each other and share one fate.

Recently, three protesters at Standing Rock got their Kali on. In a radical act, worthy of the great Mother herself, they crawled inside the Dakota Access Pipeline, putting their bodies on the line. Reading about it, I was shocked, I was troubled, I was moved. Suddenly I realized that love is always a disturbing presence. We must disrupt the order of things to obey the orders of Love.

These acts will keep growing, because the fires of truth that Kali has lit are spreading. As the old story of convenience and profit turns to ash, hearts across the planet are aflame for love and justice. Over a million people checked into Standing Rock after organizers worried that police can track protesters through their Facebook statuses.

Started by an indigenous mother, the Standing Rock protest has become a cultural creative movement no one could anticipate. Here everything meets: social justice, ecological justice, economic justice, sacred activism. And there are reasons to celebrate, such as the Army Corps’ momentous decision to deny the pipeline permit.

This might not be the end of DAPL, but this victory is a testament to the sacred fire. This is a beginning. This is what a prayerful movement looks like. This is what a culture waking up looks like. The struggle is far from over, but the zeitgeist has spoken. Hineni!it bellows.

Deeply we recognize that we are living amidst the churning of ages, although the climate catastrophe is not yet visible, most scientists now believe it is inevitable.

Climate change is here, whether we believe in it or not. Politically, with the election of Donald Trump, our country and the world have entered a dark night of the soul. We might still live in a culture of shine, greed, glam and white supremacy, but the Dark Feminine has now reemerged into this cycle, and heaven has no fury like the Great Mother scorned.

Now we must rest here in this darkness, to lay heart to the ground as a country, and feel intimately all that is being unraveled here. After all, every seed must go into darkness, must turn inside out, must break open in order to grow.

It is my prayer that our country sprouts. That this regression give rise to a counterculture of grassroots movements the likes of which we have never seen. And to a culture of love beyond measure.

Leonard Cohen — You Want It Darker (Audio)

Vera de Chalambert is a spiritual storyteller and Harvard-educated scholar of comparative religion. (Wakan — I believe the organization that published this — say it “supports people in waking up to their love-based nature and finding connection and meaning in this Life.”)

Author, speaker/spiritual teacher, poet & journalist: SF Chronicle and Examiner, Inc. Mag, Metro, 3 CNPA First Place awards. See “Heart of America” on YouTube

Author, speaker/spiritual teacher, poet & journalist: SF Chronicle and Examiner, Inc. Mag, Metro, 3 CNPA First Place awards. See “Heart of America” on YouTube