Reclaiming the Dark Mother

    by Nandy Hetenyi

    I decided to rearrange my office space last night because it wasn’t working for me anymore. I have barely spent any time in here since I birthed my dissertation.

    When I do, my energy totally shifts into some kind of pre-fabricated “work mode” energy, the antithesis of any kind of creative inspiration.

    It became this space I’d throw everything I would deal with later and shut to doors on, much like different spaces in our psyches when we continue to wear faded, worn out versions of ourselves that are actually stifling us.

    I purged so many articles from grad school and cleared out all the books I haven’t picked up in years and know I never will again. I got rid of so much.

    Then…there, in the back, behind the shelf, I find this thangka painting of Troma, the black dakini, a Tibetan Buddhist painting of Kali. The dark mother.

    I got this painting when I was backpacking through the Himalayas. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I had to have it.

    Distant memories whispered in my head as I recalled a Vedic astrology reading about Kali being the ruler of my birth chart and how much crone energy I carry.

    I remembered the look he gave me, a look that was at once aware of my potency and disapproving of this kind of energy. I registered it somewhere in my psyche and locked it up, threw it into a space to deal with later.

    Oh, this painting.

    I had it up in my old studio in Berkeley and someone I was briefly interested in came over, saw it and told me that they couldn’t date me because I had too much Kali energy.

    Again, there was that look, a look of acknowledging my potency and a disapproving, fearful look.

    I was offended and didn’t even know why at the time.

    I took down the painting, put it away, but never got rid of it.

    I’d look at it and feel afraid of it. Not understanding it even though I’d been diving deep into her practices. But, even in those practices I felt more afraid than really relishing the beauty of her power.

    Last night, as I resurrected my office space as my own, replacing all the old energy with new, inspiring energy and created a space for my heart, my muse and my business to thrive, I took her out.

    I felt that old shock, that old pain and new pains of feeling flawed in some way around my energy not suiting the “light feminine” archetype that’s all the rage…

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    I also sensed a stirring of an older, more ancient knowing, a mystery, a deep love and reverence. I put her up on the wall in my office.

    This morning I sat with her, my heart cracked open and I cried so deeply, remembering something lost but not forgotten like this painting, something hidden behind my heart.

    This utter gentleness of my soul that taught me how to love myself again.

    This soul that touches you, touches my clients and friends, the part of me that makes people feel cared for in their darkest, weirdest places. This is me. This is her.

    This energy is desperately needed on the planet right now.

    The face of the feminine has many forms, appearances and ways of dancing and doing her work in the world. This face, her face, is the power of fierce compassion.

    Her wrathfulness isn’t anger, it is fierce love, gentleness and compassion, she offers her body up to the demons of ignorance and delusion, she knows the power of the wisdom of the body to release attachments to the suffering of the soul wound.

    Her love is the love of the great mother not afraid to go into the dark with the light of her heart to bring love to places that have never known love before.

    And, if she is the ruler of my birth chart and the energy I am here to bring into the world, I bow before her and reclaim this aspect of my feminine that I have disowned in a world that prefers one face of the feminine, even if all the other forms of the feminine are starving behind her.

    She is me. I am her. She is you. You are her.

    Reclaim what you have disowned. Resurrect your true beauty. It’s time to come home.



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    About the Author:

    Dr. Nandi Hetenyi is a shamanic healer, grief midwife, writer, teacher and soul whisperer. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from CIIS in addition to spending over 15 years studying and practicing Buddhism, yoga, meditation, shamanic journey, ritual, energy healing and personal growth. She envisions a world where we feel comfortable in our own skins and are happy about being a human. You can follow Dr. Hetenyi on Instagram and find out more about her work on her website,


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