Angelina Jolie as a Shakti Goddess

Durga is the warrior goddess of inner strength, protection and courage. Like Parvati and Kali, she represents the Shakti, the feminine divine power. Though Durga remains independent and will never be married to a man. Durga can be translated as a fort or a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. Besides a warrior goddess, she is also a mother goddess and a beautiful attractive woman. Angelina Jolie holds the Durga personal archetype in many of her films, as well as in her activist and personal life. This great Durga woman example and more details about Durga in this blog comes from the book: Awakening Shakti. The transformative Power of Goddesses of Yoga by Sally Kempton. This is a wonderful book if you are passionate to dive into the characteristics and qualities of the different goddesses. Like Angelina Jolie, Durga is a powerful and confident woman or force and at the same time irresistibly beautiful and sexy, but not in the need or having the desire for a man to protect and care for her. Instead she is the one taking care of those in need. You call upon Durga for protection and a safe place literally or more symbolically.

Durga rides a roaring lion or a tiger. She has long flowing hair, bangles, necklaces and a crown. She is a warrior woman with eight hands carrying weapons: spear, mace, discuss, bow, sword, conch, lotus (representing fertility) and a rosary. Durga also possesses three eyes which represent agni (fire), surya (sun) and chandra (moon). Durga, also called divine Shakti protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces, such as: negative energy, arrogance, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, greed and selflishness. Durga is the other half of Shiva, he is the form, and she is the expression. Shakti (Durga) is considered to be the mother of the universe, while Shiva is the father. It is believed that by chanting “Om Sri Durgaya Namah”, Durga will remove the physical, mental and worldly problems in life and shower us with her unlimited blessings. Durga is the one who takes us through difficulties, a crisis or when you are struggling to make a decision. No challenge is too big for her and she has unlimited amounts of patient and always keeps a sense of humor, even in the most challenging (spiritual) fights. Durga’s fierceness arises out of her uniquely potent compassion. She is the deity to call upon when you are in deep trouble. She will always appear when we need her to protect our world and she promises to move mountains to rescue us from every form or evil, including the evil we ourselves create.

Her key teachings are to never doubt your own power to stand firmly in your own truth and to call forth your fearless heart. You can recognize her in the strong winds, crashing waves and in powerful leaders who take groups of people through a crisis or war. For me the current prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern is a wonderful powerful yet compassionate example of a Durga woman. Durga is one of the most popular goddesses in India, especially young Indian women, the icon of liberation and power. Durga Shakti doesn’t cradle you. Instead she lends you strength to do what you have to do. Durga women don’t cry easily. In fact, they often don’t show emotion, especially not negative. Questions to ask Durga can be:

  • What is the major inner obstacle I have to face now?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • What should I be paying more attention to?

I am not sure about you, but for me this brings up enough things to consider. At times I feel like the opposite of a Durga woman, I cry very easily and I am sensitive and therefore emotional at times. I would love to invoke more of Durga’s courage and inner strength and at the same time not ignore my sensitivity like I have tried to do in the past. What I would like to let go of is the perfectionist in me, especially as a wife, householder, woman and a yoga teacher. Therefore I need to trust more on myself and that all will turn out well in the end, probably different from what I had in my mind or expected. A major inner obstacle for me at the moment is to be patient on my journey to balance. After hectic stressful years, life is starting to slow and settle down, though my mind isn’t always calm and settled and a lot of seemingly enjoyable activities can bring up stress. That realization can bring up stressful thoughts in itself! The way to this obstacle isn’t ignoring or trying to fight it, instead acceptance and compassion is the key. That life is already good as it is including the ups and downs. Paying more attention to this very moment and the joy of my still little innocent and wise kids is the key. In this way, this very moment becomes the fort, the save place that Durga symbolizes. A symbolic place right here and now that protects me from all my disempowering and worrying thoughts. You can ask yourself the question: “Is there a problem right here in this moment?” This very question returns me back to my fort.

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