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Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga Paperback – February 1, 2013
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—Christiane Northrup, MD, author of the New York Times bestsellers Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause
"Awakening Shakti is a magnificent contribution to the essential movement of our time-the return of the Divine Feminine in all her passionate glory. Kempton's book is not only a completely lucid and deeply felt exploration of the different facets of the Hindu vision of the Goddess; it is also as down-home as it is exalted, and as practical as it is ecstatic. I cannot recommend this book highly enough."
—Andrew Harvey, author of Return of the Mother and Radical Passion
"Rekindling knowledge and worship of the Divine Feminine may be the most important thing we can do to balance our fractured civilization. This book brings the Goddess alive in her many important forms. Well-researched, sparkling with stories, as well as practical applications, this book is your Bible to the Hindu Goddesses."
—Anodea Judith, author of Creating on Purpose and Wheels of Life
"With her signature combination of sound research, personal experience, and engaging storytelling, Kempton offers an authentic, experiential guide to working with eleven goddesses who embody the totality of life's beauty and challenges. I recommend it highly!"
—Constantina Rhodes, PhD, author of Invoking Lakshmi: The Goddess of Wealth in Song and Ceremony
"The ascent of the Divine Feminine is one of the most important developments in contemporary spirituality. As both a skilled journalist and a gifted teacher, Sally Kempton more than does justice to this significant subject."
—Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation
“Sally Kempton's new book is a treasure that brings myth, meditation, and everyday revelation together in a way that will allow every woman to embody the divine feminine in her life. Sally enlivens the full spectrum of the goddess—from independent protector, to lover, to dynamic and powerful creatrix. I highly recommend this soon-to-be classic!”
—Shiva Rea, yogini
“Sally Kempton has given us a mythic manual for a new kind of feminism—a feminism of the soul. And this is a good thing, because humanity needs feminine power now as both a healing tonic and a source of reinvention.”
—Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of the Omega Institute, author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
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Top Customer Reviews
So for example, Durga represents the female warrior, and thus represents the energy we need to move through obstacles in our lives. The journal and practices outlined in this chapter are designed to help a reader awaken her own innate warrior instincts, and uncover ways she might have repressed this side of herself due to social conditioning or personal history. One of the 'shadow' aspects of Durga is becoming overly combative or angry, and so there are also suggested journalling activities and meditations for facing and working with these tendencies, so that this 'Durga' energy can be better directed and experienced. Lakshmi, goddess of abundance and good fortune is next explored, with the practices in this chapter devoted to helping the reader discover her innate beauty and radiance, and exercises for helping to release blocks to abundance, or to both giving and receiving good fortune. The chapter on Kali helps the reader connect with her deep desire for truth and freedom, and willingness to overturn convention - whether in one's personal life or on a social level - to achieve that. The Parvati chapter focuses on helping us discover our nurturing and devotional side, etc.
I think the strength of this book lies in the fact that you can relate to it on many different levels. You can relate to these goddesses as actual deities, and use the more devotional meditations outlined here as forms of worship added to your spiritual practice. Or you can relate to these goddesses as feminine archetypes, and use the journalling exercises and meditations as methods for recognizing those that are already strong in you, and strengthening those that are not. On still another level, it is a serious spiritual guide, offering many truths of the spiritual journey and particularly of Tantra, one of least understood (or most misunderstood) Eastern pathways. The author has walked the walk, both in her own spiritual journey, and in her teaching, and this shows in the many stories that she shares from her life. In that way, this book offers more than information - it offers a powerful transmission for those open to it.
So whether you are interested in yoga or Hinduism or not, I think you will find much of value in this book. And no, it is not just for women, anyone could work with the goddesses in this way, although most of the stories shared are geared for women readers. A wonderful and unique contribution, making knowledge and practices that might have only been available to a few in the past available to all!
So instead of repressing our sexuality so that we are not branded as sluts or told that we "deserve what happens to you" when you express said sexuality in dress or in other ways, that aspect has its own goddesses who are celebrated and honored for those very qualities. There are avenues of expression such as devotion to one's spouse or lover, or other outpourings of expressions of love that are available and again, worshipped and wished for, as opposed to here where those longings remain secret on behalf of both men and women.
Here in the America most women are taught to repress their anger lest they be deemed "bitches". But Durga is worshiped in India exactly because when she gets angry, legions of people, entire countries, are saved from horrible fates by the compassion her righteous anger represents and delivers.
The Hindu goddesses serve as archetypes representing aspects of ourselves, all of which come together to make us whole. We need all sides of ourselves to fully function in order to fulfill our life's purpose. The repression of anger and sexuality takes out of play two very powerful energetic forces for change in our lives and in the world. This book discusses ways of looking at ourselves that bring understanding and eliminate shame embedded in our psyches by the conditioning of our cultures.
This book is an opportunity to heal some of the wounds our conditioning has inflicted. I invite all women and their male consorts to get a copy and read so that you may begin to recognize which archetypal energies you manifest naturally, which ones have met with societal resistance and led you to repress them, and which ones could serve you if you are lacking them, so that you may be a more fully realized person having a more complete life experience.
Blessings on your journeys :-)
It is a lucid, well written work. I am probably a quarter of the way through it so far and keep sipping at it like a fine wine. One reason I don't want to rush through from cover to cover is because this is a book to really follow along with closely. I have made powerful insights and discoveries along the way. An important point I wish to make about this book is that it is not gender-biased. My being a man reading this has given me greater appreciation for both sexes, but more importantly, a deeper and expanded felt sense of the intimate divine, as I like to think of it.
I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to have a light beacon in dark times. You will derive much from this book. It will become your friend while you wade through mysterious and challenging life situations.