mardi 25 août 2009
Workshopping Siva and Mt. Kailash
Mt. Kailash in Tibet, sacred site of four religions
After the last Wednesday poetry workshop in Astoria with four amazing poets who had critiqued my poem "drive you" (still in flux), I had a lovely moment of coincidence: the very instant I changed the generic "love's highest mountain" to "the summit of mt. kailash" in the final strophe, I received a group email with a series of photographs of the mountain from my friend and brilliant poet (and human being) Max Babi in Puna, India. For those who do not know the mythology, Mt. Kailash is the spiritual home of the god Siva (Shee-vah), who meditates his way to divine union with himself and then dances his ecstatic destruction of the world, more specifically, the physical body, the desire body or ego, and the mind or intellect, all three bodies which, according to most Hindu literature, keep us from union with the Divine. Mt. Kailaish is also seen as the center of the universe, the lingam or egg, from which all creation rises and falls in its perpetual cycle of birth and death.
Siva as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer and destroyer of the ego
Siva has many, many aspects to which this little post cannot do justice, and I really do love them all. While Siva is often portrayed as the best ascetic, living without possession and hanging around graveyards, the god and friend of ghosts and paupers, my recent poems have gleaned from the Tantric traditions, wherein he unites his male aspect (Siva) with his female aspect (Sakti or Shak-ti). In the mythology, Siva is married to Parvati, and they have a son, who through life's crazy twists and turns, in this case, Siva's anger and jealousy, becomes the elephant-headed god Ganesha.
In my poem "drive you" and the very tongue-in-cheek "A 'Spiritual' Poem", I attempt to bring in the erotic tantric tradition wherein Siva and Parvati become one body in divine sexual/spiritual union, portrayed as the god Ardhanarishvara, half male, half female. I adore this aspect of Siva, for I have come to believe, not through reading but through living, that every one of us has both male and female aspects within us, the expression of which can so enrich our lives. I have seen men be great Mothers; I have seen women rule the roost with great discipline. And for many of us, at least 10% of the human race, we are "by nature" bisexual or drawn exclusively to same-sex relationships.
Ardhanarishvara, half male, half female
Voilà my little explanation of the Siva and Mt. Kailash references in my recent poems. I encourage you to investigate them further; it's a facinating mythology of great beauty with which to overlay this oft ugly world! :>>))) xoxoxoxoxox