Bargaining with Kali

I’ve been quiet lately in this space. There is a lot of intensity in my personal life right now. The last I wrote with any depth was about praying to Kali. She continues to work in my life. I continue to ask her to slay the fears that limit my spirit, and she continues to give me plenty of opportunities to face my fears. I rarely like what I see, nor do I feel all that secure. I made a promise to my partner that I would not back away, that I would press forward.

Here is the image I have in my head: I am riding a wild white horse bareback as it is racing across a wide open plain. My hands are at my side. My chest is thrust forward. Riding another white horse ahead of me is Kali. Her black tangled hair writhes like snakes around her. She rides her horse backward, facing me. She is performing open heart surgery on me. In her hands is a long spear with a scythe tip on the end. My chest is bloody and wide open. She has my heart snagged on the tip of her scythe and she is pulling ever so gently as we ride like the wind across this vast land. She is smiling. She has no fear; it is not her heart oozing on the tip.

Does this mean I am a victim? No. I am a willing sacrifice. I am offering up the old boundaries, the old patterns, the old cage that held my heart. Break it, smash it, make room for something bigger, wilder, freer.

There are big, big changes afoot for my family in 2013. I did a money spell on the dark moon. Next week on the full moon I am sending out another wish bird spell for a house. The emotional work I am slogging through is an incantation for my transformation. I still pray: O Kali Ma, slay the fears that limit my spirit. And she has delivered! She has given me the opportunity to do just that. Lakshmi has poured abundance in my lap. Now I must pry open my hands, let go of what no longer serves, and make room for all that goodness.

Kali Devi

Kali Devi

Morpheus’ recent post on sovereignty and The Morrigan inspired me to get before my altar, to get even more specific with Kali. This is not a one-sided relationship, where I beg for crumbs from some feudal master. I am not Kali’s equal, but I have my own sovereignty. From one angle I am the one with my chest cracked open. From another angle I am Kali performing the surgery.

Ok, Kali, I said, sitting before my altar this morning. You have given me what I asked for. Thank you. I will not retreat. I will press forward. I will not retreat. But if what you are pressing me forward fo —


I didn’t get through my prayer before a loud voice in my head told me I had to sing. I went cold and thought, this could just be my brain. But I’ve never interrupted myself like that before. I must sing.


I went back to praying: If this is really going to happen, I need some security, some emotional, spiritual and material support. You give me that and I will sing. I will sing and you provide that. Help me. In this open heart surgery, give me a blood transfusion with the courage and strength to keep riding this horse.

Is it wise to bargain with Kali? We shall see.

What is the significance of singing? In what feels like a different life, I used to sing: jazz, opera, musical theatre. This January marks my 23rd year since I started studying voice. Twelve years ago I was given the opportunity to pursue a path toward professional singing and I chose theology. In the last four and half years (since my son was born) I’ve done barely anything at all. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on the voice and the will. Having an infant gets in the way of rehearsals. Now I resist the painful rust that rests on my chords.

I am reluctant to go into the details of my love/hate relationship with singing. A history of performance anxiety and panic attacks certainly doesn’t help a singer’s career. I have long known that I would need to face this part of me again as I deepen my magical practice. My husband looked at me last night during a conversation unrelated to singing (and yet entirely related) and asked me, Do you want to be an initiate? Do you want to be half the witch I think you are? My answer is, of course, YES.

I will press forward, I will not retreat. The surgery is begun, let it be completed. Winter officially arrived yesterday with snow and cold; the winnowing season is coming to a close. Solstice is around the corner and winter feels like a good season in which to recover. Let the heart surgery continue.

I will sing. I might resist, but dammit, I will sing.