Donna Quesada: When you were talking about myth, I couldn’t help but think of Joseph Campbell,
who was one of the academic pioneers of the power of myth. It’s interesting because so many people…when they hear that word, they think of it as a fable, but in fact, it is indicative of this greater universal truth, that surpasses what we are capable of making sense out of. And it restores that sense of what’s possible, or even the magical aspect of living that we’re so out of touch with.
Chameli Ardagh: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, they are like… no just us… I’m a pattern seer. I see patterns. And just as we have patterns, like the seasons, you know, they are repeating themselves, but they are new every time. Yeah, so, we have… it’s not actually that it’s the same thing repeating itself, but it is…what is it, it is a word called “recursive.” It’s that the pattern repeats, like the… in the fall, the leaves are falling. That leaf that is falling is doing that for the first time, but that pattern of falling is repeating itself, yeah. And that’s the same with every experience that we’re having. And that’s when we begin to see that our sense of self is not so personal, that we are part of a collective unfolding that is constantly evolving, but according to patterns. And for me, these myths…they’re pointing to these patterns, where we can recognize the cosmic in the personal individual body, and vice versa.
DONNA: Would you give us an example of a myth that is meaningful to you, to make it less abstract?
DONNA: …and who might be intrigued with this idea.
CHAMELI: So, yes. I just came out of a study. We had a large gathering—eight hundred women all over the world—and we were gathering, and we were exploring a myth about the world tree. The world tree is a symbol and map that we find in so many traditions. And, I was exploring and sharing about the world tree in the Nordic tradition, where I come from. I’m from Norway. And the world tree is at the roots. There is a serpent, and at the top of the branches is an eagle in the Nordic map. And you can see that if you go to India…there’s the same map of kundalini rising…
CHAMELI: …merging with Shiva—the eagle view, and you find this in so many shamanic traditions. And that is a map of our inner yoga, of our inner awakening, where we…I like the map of the tree because it shows us that our awakening is never uprooted. Yeah it’s like… because a lot of maps make us thinks that, oh, one day I’m gonna be free, and that’s gonna be out of my body, out of the earth…and then I’m gonna fly away, yeah.
It’s not really how it works. We awaken up through the tree, and the more the branches reach out higher and wider, we have that more universal perspective. But, we never leave the roots in earth and body. We don’t have to. It’s all…actually that split creates what the Buddhists call “the root of all suffering.” It’s the root disease, which is fragmentation…separation. And so, we can recognize that within ourselves, the way we judge our bodies, or judge the earth. But, we can also see that very same dynamic in our historical. For example, I just was reading about the invasion of India, like…maybe 3000 years ago from the Orient people…the white…and they called themselves “the white race,”and they were the white race, they called themselves “the sky people.”And they invaded the goddess oriented darker skinned people living in India at that time.
Which, we see of course, the repetition of, in the colonization of Africa, of Australia, of America. And so, we can see that, that pattern, of that superior part of us that wants to reject the mother, and the great goddess, and the earth, and the body… that’s playing itself out historically, and right now, that’s in our society, too. And within ourselves, so then, we begin to see that the spiritual practice is not separate from all of these things. That what we create in our collective is a reflection of our state of consciousness. So, that’s how these myths can come…can bridge our total experience.
DONNA: That’s beautiful. So, the idea isn’t to fly away and leave the mother, but to stay connected and rooted. And I’m even thinking even in the Chinese tradition, to stay in touch with the yang, the yang force…that movement and expansion, while staying grounded and rooted with the yin, the earth.
CHAMELI: Exactly, exactly. And there’s a myth you know, in the beginning, on the western civilization, which is from the Greek mythology, which is the same myth… where Mother Earth, Gaia, is surrounded by Uranus, Father Sky. And they’re making love, they’re complete in union, like Shiva and Shakti, they are one, they can’t be separated. And then… they start to give birth to the whole world out of this lovemaking. And then some of the children…they are not acceptable for Uranus.There are monsters, and they are inconvenient. So, he feels ashamed of them and he begins to hide them down into the underworld, into the basement. And then, until Gaia finds out, and she gets furious. ‘Cause she says, like, “These are all my children, how can you separate them? Pretty children, ugly children, they’re all my children.” And then, she gets her son to stop Uranus, the father, and he cuts off the genitals of Uranus. And Uranus flies away, way up in the sky, and there is the moment where the heaven and earth are separated. And up there, he creates now, this abstract sense of self to avoid the rage of the mother, the messiness of earth, the monsters in the basement. And there’s no… there’s no secret of how… who… which parent got the custody of us.We went with Uranus.
Within ourselves, you know where we… we just ascended up to the cranial brain and into our spiritual concept, where we begin to view the body and mother…has some inconvenience…we have to get rid of. And then, we create this fragmentation. And of course, in the psychology you can have, you can also look, and have words for these monsters in the basement. Also, they don’t go away, like I said, energy has nowhere to go. It just goes into unconsciousness. And so much of what we see in the world today, it’s just those monsters, that we “conscious people,” that we don’t want to deal with, that mess, and then it just plays itself out, without parental supervision into so much distraction in the world today. But you see, that mindset, of the superior abstract area part of us, the ego, separated from the tree, that is the source of so much suffering. And it’s… we are living in the consequences of that mindset, in the way we are literally killing our own mother. We are literally killing our bodies, our relationships, our…you know…and even our global family. So, it’s daunting to see it out there. But, I find more hope and inspiration and maps of how to practice and awaken consciousness when I recognize these patterns within myself, too. And I can see that we can enter the work from so many entry points.
DONNA: Well, you know, that was something I wanted to ask you about. It seems like this duality between masculine and feminine energies is at the root of so much environment destruction and political havoc that’s going on today. And I think that tendency is to think that it is a product of the Industrial Age, or the Age of Reason or something like this. But in talking to you about myths, and how far back they go, it seems like this disjunct has been in the works for millennia, much longer than any of us suspect.
CHAMELI: Mhmm. Yes, We are talking for, 4…5000 years.
DONNA: Amazing. And yet…
CHAMELI: But, but that is nothing compared to our time here on earth. Because we are you know…just the human sapiens is 200,000 years. We have other older aspects or versions of humans that are millions of years. So, it’s a little blip, and we can correct it.
DONNA: Now, given what population is today, is there a reason to be hopeful when so many are born into an unconscious world? Where does the change start? Of course, it sounds cliché to say it starts with us, but that… is it really realistic, I guess, is what I’m trying to get a sense of…
DONNA: …in such a populated world?
CHAMELI: Yeah. I have hope. I have hope because I know so many people, especially from the new generation that are, you know, a remarkable people. They are accessing consciousness in a way that I don’t think we ever can imagine, even. And… but I don’t have hope that we can keep this civilization, this society intact, the way it is. I think we have to go through a destruction…dismantling. And there are many studies made of the fall…the rise and fall of empires. And there are patterns again, that what is happening now…this textbook of how empires have fallen before, when we get overtaken. It starts with good ideology, good intentions, and then we get overcome with greed and power games…we begin to idolize false gods, and down we go.
DONNA: False Gods?
CHAMELI: Yeah. I’m just thinking about…the other day, I looked at just the leaders that we have chosen. And I looked at all of these men and the state of consciousness they are embodying. And I ask myself, like, why… who are we, that we have chosen? What leaders are we choosing and for what reason? It’s so completely different than… than what one would think that our leader should be, or our leaders should be. But it has happened before. I read a lot of studies around the fall…the rise and fall of empires and it’s very similar. Even though we are idolizing famous people, or the person who has the most money, or the most fame…all these kind of projections upon people that are not necessarily the most mature aspect of our consciousness.
DONNA: Do you think the change begins with us, women? And what is the proper response? And, I have to harken back to your TED Talk because you talked about that…that anger, and the appropriate use of that. And I’d like to talk about that, for those who haven’t seen your TED Talk. It’s so powerful and I’m hoping that we can go into that a little bit more, on how to channelize that anger. But I don’t want to take too many steps forward. Do you think the change begins with us, as women, who have been silenced for so long?
CHAMELI: I think there is a lot of rumbling below the surface of change. There is a lot of awakening happening. And the way that I have seen the last decades, the rise of that longing in a woman’s heart in spiritual circles, that I am practicing in. There’s a call in women’s hearts to find a way to embody…whatever awakening we have…to heal the fragmentations split between form and formlessness…spirit and earth. And I am, just in awakening women…we have 300,000 people engaged. There are so many leaders I know, also practicing circles. I can, with confidence, say there are millions and millions of women, feeling…they are hearing the same call. I talk to women in Bangladesh, or in South Africa, or in Malaysia. Some of them don’t even have an environment around them that supports this, and still they feel the same calling in their hearts.
And you know the way that I would put words into that is that it’s the goddess wanting to be part of this next step of evolution. She is returning, but through, not one woman…she’s just too huge for that, but through that collective. Willingness to burn, to stay at the edge of evolution, with trembling legs, not knowing the next step…it’s absolutely necessary to not reach for the old maps. Here, we can be inspired, but we have to be willing to birth what wants to be birthed. And again, in so many of the goddess myths, we find this point in evolution, too. What she says, she describes in so many myths, the world situation being taken over by greed, or by perversion, and she says, “when the world is in imbalance, call me, and I will come.” And in one way, I feel that the call in my heart and in millions of women’s hearts…it’s the call and the answer to the call, at the same time. That she is birthing herself, and not only through women, so many men are also finding that longing to…
CHAMELI: …you know, for a more embodied spiritual identity.
DONNA: Yes. Yes. So, now the TED Talk. As an animal lover, I related very much to the story about the dog, and maybe I can get you to tell the story. It’s that energy that you’re talking about, right now. That Kali, you know, waking up to that feminine power, so, using that Kali power, which is that Indian goddess that rises up when it’s necessary. When… when we need that empowerment, that strength, that proper use of fire. And you told a story about when you were on the metro, and you had an elderly dog with you. Maybe I can beguile you to tell that story, and how you use that energy in the right way.
CHAMELI: Yeah, so I was, throughout all my teens…I was very much suppressing my feelings. And then, in my late teens, I also started to follow special maps…promised me that if I only meditated enough, I would also get moved beyond feelings, so that I would not have to…one day I wouldn’t have to deal with the mess of human life. I could fly away, out of here. So, I was a very ambitious student, but I also had quite a traumatic background. There was an intuition in me, this numbness of feelings for something that I had to look into, so I started therapy early. And in my therapy, I got in touch with my anger, but in the beginning, it was not very sophisticated. I didn’t know how to be with this incredible strong energy. So, it was spilling out here and there, and it was this sense of like, “I have the right to be angry!” It was like thousands of years of suppressions, suddenly, and out now.
So, I didn’t have so much a container for it. And in the metro, I had this dog who was blind, almost blind. And it was two boys…they were shooting at her with their water pistols. And I asked them to stop, but they didn’t. And then I just lost it, basically. I just…I was almost at the throat of this young boy, which you know, his friend managed to save him out of my rage. Luckily. But, like I say in the talk, is that, right there we can say, “Oh, it was justified to feel angry in that situation…it was justified to protect the weak and the defenseless, and it’s important.”But, it was also out of proportion. So, for me, that was the start of practice. Because anger was a feeling that I would lose consciousness, when that…like that, you know, so strong, and I would lash out.
Because it was so strong in me, I had to actually have extra practice there. And now because I’ve been practicing so many years with anger, it is part of my gift to the world. First of all, I’m not afraid. The women can come to my circles and they can go as dark as they need to because I am not bailing, you know? I can stay conscious in it. I’ve been there. And, also,I can, you know, with practice…I can feel anger as my life energy; not as something that I have to get rid of right away. Like, sometimes we think that, “I have a feeling, bleh, I have to get rid of it!” Even our sexuality, “I have arousal, now I have to release it.” That’s our sexuality. It becomes releasing the energy. And in our practice again, we learn to open our bodies and our system. Not only our physical body, but also our more subtle body. Our more spacious sense of self. So, energy can circle through without it having to be a drama. Doesn’t have to hurt anybody. It doesn’t have to swallow it and hurt myself. I can actually just feel the feeling of my life force as shakti.
DONNA: Yes, because so much of spiritual practice is about learning how to conquer those kinds of emotions. But you’re saying, no…that’s not the idea. And so, being on a spiritual journey, how do we transmute that into something productive?
For more go Here: AwakeningWomen.com
Read and watch Part III Here: There Are So Many flavors Of consciousness
Read and watch Part I Here: Embracing Into The fire Of Presence