Little known goddess Chinnamasta, a wrathful incarnation of Ma, who in effect is really Shakti, who’s Shiva anyway… is not as wrathful as she seems. Least, not in the way we Westerners tend to define wrath.
Looking so fierce and scary, she decapitates herself to provide nourishment for her companions, the three of them wandering as they are (but really, are Ida, Pingala and Sushumna).
The other two were hungry (spiritually, energetically?) and so without ego, Chinnamasta removes her head, providing the ultimate life-giving nourishment. In the process, ridding herself of an appendage that often gets us lesser mortals in strife. The ‘home’ of the mind (which has no home in the physical body), the ahamkara (I-maker/ego).
Headless… the very idea, generally considered gruesome, but I sorta know how she feels.
Or at least, my dream self does.
Vivid and seemingly non-stop in my formative years (circa primary school era), a series of dreams, a little bit like one of those American soaps you can pick up on ten years later – ever unfolding at snails-pace with lots of scenes repeated.
Everything submersed in water, a bit like Waterworld, except (thankfully) not starring Kevin Costner and my soporiferous thoughts occurred long before that movie regretfully saw the light of day.
Some water was deeper than others, but a fair bit was only chest high. The name of the game in this world – don’t lose your head.
Had to keep watch for the ‘knights’ (I don’t think they were knights, but they rode on horseback and carried swords). The thing to do if they were around, was submerge yourself fully, hold your breath and wait for them to go away.
Because, we all knew what happened to those who were caught: decapitation.
This water-covered world flooded my nocturnal landscape with frequency. But I’d be doing something a little different every time. Playing with my friends, at school or in some other part of the world I wasn’t quite familiar with. Each time they came, we’d duck. Or I’d duck, if alone. Each time we survived we congratulated ourselves.
Every so often, amidst this night-time play, I found myself in something of a predicament. Caught.
Then, my head was gone. My neck relieved of its weight, rolled off to who knows where.
Curiously, I did not die. In fact, with every passing moment I discovered the freedom of the headless. I could still breathe, and talk and think. I was not my head, my head was not me.
Running through my schoolyard, testing my new way of being. Found a horrified looking friend or two, and tried to say – look, there’s no need for your head! I’m still okay, I’m alive and now I don’t need to hide from the knights!
Was it terror, disinterest or perhaps disdain for something different? Or the lot? They weren’t buying it. They had no interest in this new, headless me.
Sure, it was strange but pleasant and yet, so lonely. No one else wanted to willingly have their head cut off, too. They kept up their ducking and hiding and their noggins on their shoulders.
And I… got bored being the only one with this kind of freedom. What fun is there, if you’re the only one?
So, by the powers of the dreamscape where all things are possible, I found my head re-attached. And life went on…
There’s much of life we think of as occurring in our mind. There’s much we create in our mind we think of as this world, much larger than it really is. Causing confusion and loss.
Loss – of a limb, an idea, thoughts or people from our life, generating heartbreak. We feel it in the chest region (at least I do, and cuttingly so) though that heartbreak is self-created and projected outwards, as though it’s happening to us, instead of coming from us.
Chinnamasta’s messages are many, but include the idea of self-love and self-sacrifice for the benefit of many, which in the end, benefits you, too.
Doing away with the need to duck and hide, and assuming the worst when, for all we know, there’s more freedom on the other side than we can ever imagine from this vantage point.
I know now, what it is I crave.