Mystic Spirituality for Women Series
As I mentioned in my Are You A Mystic post, I’ve been organizing a series of posts I would like to do on mystic spirituality for women. I’m not sure this is the perfect series name, because some of the posts aren’t gender specific, some that are for women are geared for mothers and therefore not relevant to all women, and some could arguably be considered more occult than mystic. But this is the best overall title I could come up with so far.
This series is really to organize my own thoughts, which I felt it important to do this week because my birthday is this Sunday (42 for those counting!) and birthdays are a great time to initiate new things. My birthday coincides with International Women’s Day, so what more perfect time could there be to initiate a series for women? This particular post is kind of a Table of Contents – I will add in the links to each post as I complete them. Needless to say, the order and titles may change as I go along, but I wanted to give regular readers a sense of where it is headed.
This series is personally important to me, because it is the result of my own research (through reading and my own intuition) into this area after the experiences I had with the birth of my first child. Although I integrate different forms of meditation into my practice, my core form is chakra meditation, which I began as part of my Vajrayana Buddhist studies, and later evolved through my studies of other mystic traditions that include the idea of energy bodies and chakras. At the time I had my daughter I had been doing chakra meditation daily for almost fifteen years, and teaching it for three.
While I won’t go into the details here, to put it simply, one of the goals of chakra meditation is to raise the lifeforce or kundalini up through all of the chakras. I noticed while pregnant that it became more and more difficult to do this, and from the reading I did I understood this to be normal, as both my physical and energetic body directed most of its resources to the new life. But what I didn’t expect was how hard it would be to re-establish my ability to raise the kundalini after my daugher was born. And I also didn’t realize the extent to which my energetic connection to my child (and later children, with my twins born 19 months later) would impact this.
For all of you that don’t study chakra meditation, you may be wondering ‘why should I care?’ There are lots of spiritual paths, why not just embark on one that doesn’t involve the chakras? Well, to that I would say that the vibrational and energy patterns and practices associated with chakra work are really the underpinnings of all spiritual experience. Many paths don’t work with the chakras explicitly, but the shifts that happen at that level still occur. When I read St. Theresa of Avila’s descriptions of her ‘union with Christ’, Rabia Basri’s poems on experiencing the beloved in nature, or even Zen abbess’ Mugai Nyobai’s satori moment, I see the shifts described within chakra meditation texts, even though none of these traditions work with them. I view writings on the chakras and other spiritual energy systems as ‘looking under the hood’ of mysticism, at the technicalities of what occurs when you have a mystic moment. And while you don’t have to understand what occurs under the hood of your car to drive it, some of just like to know:-)
Both the Are You A Mystic and Women’s Energy Bodies – Phases and Cycles posts might be good prequel reading for this series, but you’ll be able to follow this series without them (in fact I am going to try to make them each self-sufficient, but we’ll see how that goes.) Also, one thing I ask as you read this is that you remember this is a blog, not a master’s thesis. I am going to try and reference sources when I have them, but some of this is just my own POV. I’m happy to entertain debate on any of these issues in the comments, but just want to say up front that I DO know some of what I am saying does not jive with traditional chakra teachings.
Ok, here’s the topics, which I’ll start next week:
The Four Mystic Paths – Overview of the four types of spiritual paths as outlined in the Vedas, which I think is the best way for understanding all the world’s religions and spiritual traditions, and the different types of spiritual experiences. They are bhakti (devotion), jnani (inquiry), karma (service), and raja (combines all the others with occult and energy studies.)
Vibrational Spirituality: Under the Hood of Mysticism – A high-level look at the traditions that explicitly focus on energy bodies and chakras as part of spiritual practice, including kundalini yoga and Tantra.
The Second Chakra and Women’s Energy Bodies – The second chakra corresponds to the physical location of our reproductive organs, and therefore functions differently in men and women. How does this impact our paths to mystic experience, regardless of what tradition we are coming from?
The Second Chakra and Seeing – The unique receptive qualities of women’s second chakras make it a powerful force in our intuitive abilities – essentially, we ‘see’ differently than men.
The Second Chakra and Motherhood – We energetically nurture our children through our second chakra, long after birth. How can we manage this in a way healthy for both us and our children? And how does this impact our mystic sensibilities?
What’s It All Mean? – How does all this information impact how women approach spirituality and mystic experience, i.e. how can we use all this information?
I welcome questions and comments on specific areas you are interested in related to each of these topics…this is a very fluid series (and that feedback is partly why I find blogging so valuable in helping me sort through my own ideas.)