Saturday, March 7, 2015

Shiva and Shakti: The Sequel

The place. Photo by Jeremy Ragland.

My offering to Katie Silcox and the interventionists at our AMAZING Happy, Healthy Retreat in Kona, reprinted here.

Dear ones:

If you are already in repose, languid in your own sunset, I don’t have to remind you about the upheavals. Heavens no. You most certainly recall when the earth was scorched by both sun and greed alike. This is for you younger ones, you with all the Ojas, trying to understand the not-so-long ago time when all the sap in the world wasn’t going to help you or anyone win this mortal joy-battle we call life.

You already know the first story. About how Shiva sat, illuminating the world with consciousness and his lava lamp of semen, spinal fluid and secret sauce. He was a heavy hitter; a blissed out, tuned in, primordial dude. Shakti, with her fan dance and toe rings, kept herself amused for a good long time. She sipped on air and spun silk in and out of the trees. She innovated the tides. She devised fantastical choreography for the stars. Think Pina Bausch by way of a once famous band called The Monkees. That will get you close.

Eventually she fatigued of her lonely dance. Only a handful of stars would agree to her idea to “shoot across the sky!” and the rest made clunky formations and refused to move. “Uh, boring!” thought Shakti.  

You know the rest. Third eye NOT blind and all.

What is not often discussed is that when gods and goddesses study human lives carefully, they can’t help but to try a few things out. The internet wasn’t even invented when Zeus consorted with a swan! So stuff happens. And you need to understand that it wasn’t just the sun and the money zealots and the medieval modern terrorists. It was just so noisy with tantalizing offerings.  Who doesn’t want to watch at least one season of  House of Cards? Who doesn’t want to try at least one massage “wand”? Gods are not totally immune to cat videos, Advil and pumpkin spice lattes. Come on!

I’ll be frank. Between you and me, Shiva had eaten so many frozen pizzas and quarts of ice cream that he forgot his own consciousness and Shakti went on a Tinder binge. It was kept pretty quiet but since it wasn’t the first time, there was an intervention of sorts.

You are also aware that Shiva and Shakti had many children, so many in fact that they needed to assign humans the pretty cushy job of parenting them. It wasn’t without challenges though. Just ask Vera, earth mama to Katie. Katie was one of the of feistiest goddess bunnies of all. Yet Vera had been warned that too much meddling with Katie, even during those Tequila-fueled days in Spain, would not allow Katie to thrive so she prayed and reorganized the furniture instead. Can you say Sophisticated Living? Vera is a pro.

Katie and Vera.
It is not exactly clear when Katie got the call, or even who notified her - Rod maybe? - but when she got the text that Shiva was living in a trailer park in Vegas with Shakti out doing buddha-knows-what on the strip every night, well that was a real blow. So Katie hunkered down and fast-tracked her study. She jotted down all the ayurveda details in a best selling self-care book, then set a course to reset the Sangha.

Her first step was to find a secret sacred place.  She wanted it to be an eternal secret but since she was not able to abolish the internet, Reddit threads eventually unthreaded the veil she and her cohorts had placed over the north Kona locale at the Hawaiian Island Retreat.

Her second step was to call in a group of humans to initiate for the mission. While Katie had asked for a Genie Lamp and a hunky MacGyver dude from Shiva and Shakti and her earth mama Vera for years, they had yet to help her manifest them so she had to choose just the right group of people to rapid prototype a total ayurvedic, tantric reboot for the planet.

The first person she called was Kim. After a frank explanation of the situation, and assuring Kim that she would be able to complete the mission of consciousness rebirth before she had an actual, human baby, Kim said “Truck, yeah!”  Then came Paulo, a handstand master and an engineer. Who better to devise a way to turn the world over and then right it again? Sara T. signed on early too. Katie had to warn Sara that she may need to use Sara’s extraordinary abilities as a caregiver as it seemed that Shiva and Shakti were both in need of some major TLC.

Kim, afloat. Photo (c) Michael Rubin
Sara T.

Kelly and Autumn. Photo bombers Ruben and Stacy.
Katie then went through her contacts, looking for vedic-friendly soldiers of the new sacred. She turned to her luminous friend Danelle for her rock-solid ability to hold space and befriend all. She reached out to Amy, a contortionist of the mind and body, for tactical support and laughter as needed. She called on Rosie and Autumn, who understand the specifics of how to care for Shakti. She called on Janis, who held space for Vera, sometimes with a glass of red wine and sometimes with her own wisdom medicine. Vera? Of course she was there! Luckily there was no cat leukemia medicine disguised as candy on this mission so she was in good shape to assist as earth mother and friend to all.




Katie called forth Catherine and Jeremy, intrepid souls, who brought a sense of empathy for the temporarily unwell in the form of head colds and fevers. It is a huge gift, those who remind us that our wellness is never guaranteed, even when you’ve booked a freakin’ flight to paradise. Scott was recruited for his photographic memory and his capacity to listen, synthesize and deliver kindness at every turn.
Jeremy, feeling better.


Katie rested for a few days as she considered who else was needed for the mission. She sipped ginger tea, devised potions, and asked the cave of her heart during Yoga Nidra, “Show me the beauty, the strength and the emotion we need. Show me the light.”

Obviously Anna made the next cut because of the beauty thing. When they finally render the portraits from this moment of history, it will be hers you see (after Katie’s of course) - this goddess love child of magnificent, painted flesh. It occurred to Katie that LIndsay should come along too, deliverer of light, laughter and hair-based adornments for Anna and others. When you are realigning tantra, you cannot skimp on beauty and pleasure.

Anna and Katie.

Lindsay came with an extra bonus, cohort-wise, in that she was confidant to the extraordinary Kirstin, osteopathmaker, healer and all-around cool chick.  

Next, Katie really wanted someone who could hold a fiery, Kali-esque space, if even for a few days, even with a radiant smile, so Kelly was recruited. As luck would have it, another brave Kelly was able to hold the space of sadness and surrender for the group. You have no idea how powerful it is - even for the Gods - to watch a human have a glorious, authentic emotion. Weeping is one of the few things with the power to stop the world and remind us that RIGHT NOW is the only time that matters.

Kelly. Black sand beach. Fire meets water.
There were a few final positions open. Katie was getting worried at the last minute that she didn’t have someone with equal parts light beauty and formidable changemaker, someone in their own nascent stage of transformation - the Vata quotient. Luckily, a workshop was held and Heather showed up, ready to take on the task.

“These people are pretty devoted to what I have to say.  If I ask them to shoot across the sky, they’ll do it,” Katie reasoned. But wise daughter of Shiva/Shakti/Vera that she was, she reasoned she better have at least one human who was dedicated to reason, clarification, skepticism and humor, someone who could look at a the world in all its technicolor trickery and boil it down to essence in black and white. Rubin signed on for the task at hand.

Dear ones. It is for another day and another tale when I tell you precisely how this band of merrymakers, dreamers, lovers, mythmakers, yogis, hula dancers, circus-workers, polo players, firebrands and friends came to rehabilitate Shiva and Shakti. It is safe to say that it included dancing, shaking, breathing, touching, laughing, listening and loving. It is even rumored that they brought baby monkeys and kittens, bowls of color, and objects of devotion to the final circle.
Ceremony. Detail.
I will tell you this. The real magic happened in the not-silent silence, where those who were called to Kona by Katie got to bear witness to the essence of Shiva and Shakti in the sound of the ocean breeze, the comfort of the black nights, the wonder of the leaping whales, and the soulful surrender of each to the ineffable beauty of the other.

With gratitude, the scribe.