I've been wanting to say a little about consecration for a while. This is an enormous topic but if you're serious about your wellbeing and development, a very important one.
You can consecrate just about anything - your food, your projects, yourself, but what I am going to talk about now is consecration of your space. This one thing can make a huge difference to your sense of peace, wellbeing and clarity of mind.
You might wonder why this is such a big deal, but if an area is under-consecrated, your energy will be lower, the quality of your thoughts will be more negative, and it may be difficult for your family to feel in harmony there. This may not make sense to the rational mind, but everyone knows how much better they feel in harmonious surroundings, such as in nature, or the difference between when you've tidied up before you went to bed, and when you haven't.
Think of your living area as being a reflection of your energy (and that of any other people you live with). The macrocosmic mirrors the microcosmic, so if your home is disharmonious, it is likely that your mind lacks harmony. Often people think, 'I will wait until I have more time/energy/things are less chaotic and then I will do it', but the opposite is often true. It may be that the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself is to give your space some love, and this will bring about the desired changes in your world. It means that the space will work for you in your life, providing an area of light for you to grow in. An unconsecrated space can magnify your karma and keep you stuck. If the people you live with are going through problems you may not be able to change them directly, but you can provide a safe space for them which will give them the best chances of working through their issues. If your work is challenging you, you need a sanctuary to return to at the end of the day.
If you are going to meditate or take part in other spiritual practice, it is extremely important to clear and consecrate the room in which you do this. It will make your practice progress much more easily and help you to feel more connected as you do.
Ideally all spaces in your living area should be consecrated, but in order of priority, look at your communal and sleeping areas, and then if you work, your desk or other areas.
So, how to do this?
As a first step (and if you only do one thing), de-clutter and tidy. Then de-clutter and tidy some more. Clean (this is a note to self here too over the bank holiday weekend). Feel into the space. What would make it more harmonious? Do you need to move things around? Is anything unsightly? As an aside, it's good practice to keep electronics out of your sleeping area. The most important ingredient in consecration is love. Love the space, enjoy keeping it in a pleasant state. If it helps, think of your efforts as karma yoga, a form of prayer, or devotion.
There are many, many practices and objects you can use to consecrate a space, however I am only going to recommend here those which I have found most effective versus their simplicity, practicality and price.
1. Fire - if you have a stove or fire, put it on regularly. If not, or if it's summer, get yourself some candles. There is nothing as purifying as a flame, and it creates an atmosphere which is harmonious on all levels. Most people resonate with candlelight so you are not going to freak out your family, partner or less sensitive housemates.
2. Sacred symbols - for the sake of ease and simplicity - choose a sacred symbol which appeals to you for each room you are consecrating. Easy to find, print and put on a wall. Try to feel into what the space requires rather than imposing something on it. For example, I love the Sri Yantra for it's power and ability to bring on/enhance samadhi, but recently when I was re-consecrating my bedroom, Sri Yantra was not right - despite the fact that I meditate here. The 'right' symbol for this space turned out to be the Om Shanti symbol. If you're not sure or new to this, try one or more out until your room feels attuned. Be prepared to re-evalutate this over time as your needs change.
3. Crystals - by no means a must, but a very simple, easy way to help clear your space and keep the energy attuned to your highest good. As with symbols, experiment with what you are drawn to for a particular room. The bigger the crystal, the more powerful its range. Amethyst is a good all-round choice for purifying energy, and is useful for 'in-between' places - perhaps halls and smaller rooms that you' haven't given the full treatment. Crystals are also good for a child's room as they are tactile and your child can help choose which one they want. Remember to cleanse the crystals when you first receive them in salt water and refresh at intervals thereafter.
4. Anything else you've learned: Reiki, tibetan singing bowls, music, scents, holy water, flowers, plants, clever geopathic healing etc. etc.
5. Any of the above will lose their impact if you fail to keep the space uncluttered, fresh and tidy. Your space needs to feel loved, not neglected. Keep your eyes on the ball and continually see this as a work in progress. There are some times when your space will feel more challenged than others and may need extra attention to keep it in alignment.
Don't underestimate the importance of consecration. In your list of spiritual practices, this may not be at the top, but you may want to move it higher. It's something I didn't consider so important when I first began my journey, but now I can feel the difference when I move from room to room or if something is out of place. I spend a lot of time in spaces which could be made to work better.
Over time, consecration will simply become a way of being, a way of going through life that allows you to slice effortlessly through karma. It's both an art and a science that you'll develop with practice.
Start with your home.
Today, I’m excited to be introducing...
(drum roll), The Divine Lover bhakti playlist. (You can find it here).
Explore consciousness with me through Bhakti yoga...
This is the first Tantra Mataji playlist which has come to fruition but there are more to come. These are the result of many years of rigorous testing in my very own kitchen. Each playlist has its own focus, but together they are designed to help you become more alive, more total, experience more love. In order to make the list, each song has to rate very highly on the Ecstasy-o-meter. The blend of artists, lyrics, music, and combination of songs in the list adds a further dimension of complexity.
Who do I mean by The Divine Lover?
Your sweetheart? Your guru? Your deity? Does it matter?
Sufis know God as the Beloved. Jesus offers himself as the Bridegroom. Shiva is a loving husband to Parvati. Krishna is Lover to many. What are these archetypes telling us about our relationship with the Divine? Who or what will point the way to communion with the ONE and Divine Unconditional Love?
I am not making any apologies for the song choices (Boyzone warning). There will be some tracks which you don’t immediately like. That is ok. There may be some song transitions that shock you. The goal is to PLAY with the list. If something annoys you, ask yourself which part of you is annoyed. Savour the tracks you do like or which move you. Stop and start and play the ones you like over and over. These are not designed as background music or easy listening. Ideally, if the idea resonates, you will treat this as sadhana and ‘work the list’. Turn up the volume and sing. Dance around. Do it in front of other people. Especially if it’s ‘not you’.
‘Yes, but I don’t really do Bhakti’ I hear you say. Hmm, that’s what I used to think - not a devotional bone in my body. I guess that joke is on me (spontaneously dissolves into puddle). If you are human, you are capable of Bhakti yoga. If your goal is bliss and ecstasy, try it. Paramhansa Yogananda once told a disciple, “Kriya Yoga plus devotion works like mathematics. It cannot fail.” It’s a bonafide path of yoga that works, especially in combination with other practices.
And if you’re still hovering, this is not just a simple Bhakti playlist (you can find plenty of those already on offer on YouTube). My mix-y up-y mix tapes are tantricly woven to challenge you a little, activate more energy sub-harmonics, and help you expand into totality.
Warning: This post contains fruity content (!)
A tale of two lovers...
Our divine couple...
Two beloveds, wandering free in the countryside, in the desert, over the sea, have attained sacred union - the eternal inner marriage of hieros gamos. Conjoining, they watched as their essences spiralled round each other, golden, in a double helix, binding them together.
Once two, now they are one, communing constantly as a single being in two bodies.
Whether together or apart, their energies sing to each other. From their tongues, their energy channels, their love organs - streams of tingling consciousness speaking the mysteries of the universe.
They began with wildly different backgrounds, Love is funny like that, but if you asked them now, you would find they have forgotten their starting points. Meeting in the centre they have dissolved their histories, their former selves and opened to the Christ consciousness, the inner soulmate.
How old are they? Who can tell? These entwined beings are constantly renewing through the breath of the cosmos that flows between them.
Together they have become a love-bomb, dissolving all barriers to Love in their paths.
Inspired by the new sensations flowing through them, between each ONE and the Divine, with childlike curiosity they look for new ways to experience more, share more divine communion.
What can there be to dislike, to argue with, concerning a love such as theirs? But they have heard rumours, incomprehensible ideas, and it makes them wonder...
She takes his hand:
My tongue speaks to yours
communing like wafer
So much to say
yet no words taking form
like a stream
with eager boisterous
Please be gentle
What are you saying?
This is popping candy
Like a tongue on pencil sharpener
like the stream
Can we go to the chapel
for the love
with each other?
I want to feel it
the wafer on my tongue
Will it speak to me
Can we go there together
as we offer our tongues
to this union?
Hold my hand
The priest is on our side
No lover of mine
is an enemy
we are fine
What do I mean by these?
For me these are moments that really caused me to re-evaluate my view of the world and kick start some internal re-wiring. Defining moments are those you use to shore up your idea of what you are and what you are not in the world. Un-defining moments make the world bigger, force you to throw off pieces of your ‘self’ and find more at-one-ment.
I hope we all have some of these. Here is my list. It is not exhaustive and these are not ‘favourite moments’ or ‘time of my life moments’ (although some were that too). For some people these moments would be ‘so what?’ - that’s fine. These are some of the ones that I was fortunate enough to have that made me grow.
1. When I was 13 and went on my first French exchange to Dijon. Tipped off the coach and picked up by my penfriend’s family, we arrived at her home. The garage had automatic gates down to a basement garage. We walked up through a games room to the ground floor where staircases curved up on both sides of the hallway to the second floor landing. My room was the size of my whole upstairs at home. There were so many rooms that I forgot which one was the toilet and had to go in my ensuite shower in the night. In the morning we had breakfast outside (truly exotic - Frosties with yoghurt and raspberries) in the sunshine next to the huge swimming pool. We had pool parties after school. I secretly fell in love with her cousin. One weekend we drove down to their flat in the Alps for a spot of tobogganing, views of Mont Blanc and Raclettes. Hot chocolate and brioche before brioche was a supermarket staple. Bloody meat presented for lunch (just eat it - no one else is dying). Mind blown.
2. First visit to Camden Market as a teenager when my friend’s mum drove us there. I felt as if I’d entered an alternative universe of dreadlocks and joss sticks and other funny smells. Trinkets and memorabilia and tie-dyed clothing. Cue lots of saving of pennies and return visits. Happy days.
3. First term at Cambridge. Getting a ‘D’ in my first piece of Use of French homework and the soulful look from our lecturer. Never knowing the answer in the Russian grammar workshop. Vaguely wondering how other people did but also wondering why it was scheduled at 9.00 the night after the student club night. Busting a gut just trying to keep up. Not being able to define myself by ‘doing well’.
4. Arriving in Beijing on the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1996. (It does something to you to see the same country go past for seven days, the same lake (Baikal) for one whole day.) But specifically, the journey ended one morning at dawn as we pulled into Beijing. The parks we passed were full of older people practising Tai Chi. Before I had any idea what Tai Chi was. Before working out in parks was a thing. Beijing itself, The Great Wall. Wondering if we needed to go home at all.
5. Short and sweet - first night in Istanbul age 20. Being woken at dawn by the call to prayer from the three nearest mosques. (Argh. Do you have to? I like my sleep). Roll on a few (ahem) years. If you can't beat 'em....you marry them (or something). Nowadays when in Turkey I pass my mother-in-law in the dark on the way to the bathroom as she gets up to pray, me to meditate.
6. Living in Russia in the late ‘90s. Different rules. Not worrying about it.
7. Hmmm. Still not sure I want to talk about this. Breaking off an engagement because I fell for someone else. (I guess settling down at 24 was a little optimistic). The genuine horror of not being a ‘good girl’. Trying out the mantle of ‘scarlet woman’. Not being struck by lightning. And finally, most terrifyingly, not being sure why I had wanted to marry the guy I finished with in the first place.
8. Giving birth. Nothing prepared me for the way my body behaved in labour (and yes I did do the class - I'm thorough I did two). My experience was of my body transforming into an enormous pump over which I had little control, designed to expel a wee babe in super quick time. I learned fast that I needed to ham it up to get the midwives to pay me attention. My first daughter was nearly born in a corridor, the second not quite in the toilet. Neither one was ultimately fazed by the experience. Mild trauma and over excitement.
9. Early motherhood. Major identity crisis. Where did ‘I’ go? Who is that puffy face looking back at me in the mirror? Why is the weight not ‘falling off’? My ‘little sister’ is awesome but how do I come to terms with myself as ‘mother’? Am I the only one who feels like this?
10. Babaji. Beginning, middle and end. The ultimate love-hustler. In his presence everything is forgotten. All that matters is the joy that comes with it. Not being. Just love.
This is the quote that is keeping me centred right now, from Hindu saint Sri Anandamayi Ma:
"Before I came on this earth, Father, 'I was the same'. As a little girl, 'I was the same'. I grew into womanhood, but still 'I was the same'. When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, 'I was the same'... And, Father, in front of you now, 'I am the same'. Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change around me in the hall of eternity, 'I shall be the same’.”
'I am the same'. Everything else is illusion.
'Our love affair was a prickly thing
I thought you were ugly and cruel
You enticed me back'
I was planning another post, but given the current diplomatic crisis between the UK and Russia (and the world), this one feels more timely.
As love affairs go, this one's been pretty damn big for me....
Moscow is my Himalayas. I start to breath differently there as soon as the plane hits the tarmac. It's a place to feel more alive. I realise not everyone feels like this.
How do you learn to love something which initially seems off-putting?
Well, this is the essence of tantra, and Russia has taught it to me well...
'Overcast and austere, you make me glad to be with you
Unwelcoming, you embrace my soul
Once more I breathe deeply in your feather-heavy air
My belly bubbles the buzz none can hear'
Often, the things which seem most 'difficult' are the ones most worth the effort. When I first visited Moscow in 1996, I can safely say I was not immediately in love with the place. It was big, dusty, unwelcoming, had horrible red tape, and all the good nightclubs were hidden un-signposted down some back street only to be reached using a hastily hand-drawn map.
But there was something.... an excitement, a challenge, a significance, a secret, a promise of more.
It is becoming a bit of a theme for me, but if you want to experience ecstasy, you need to embrace complexity - the 'good' and the 'bad'. It is only through transmuting the duality of these that you find genuine unconditionality and passion for life.
Those red stars on top of the Kremlin get me every time....
(Also, y'know, Russians are not that difficult to get on with - lots of my favorite, favourite people in this lifetime have been and are Russian).
Poetry heals, and here is a poem I wrote in Moscow two years ago in 2016, a whole twenty years after my first visit - celebrating the things that had changed, the things that hadn't, the memories, and the constant new-ness. I hope it goes some way to offering a fresh perspective.
Am I old or young?
This place tumbles my feelings
Until I melt into the flow
Releasing the years in between
Worn like barricades
Can I still be one of you?
In these spaces so grand
I lose myself lightly
So present in every in-breath
Every mouthful, every undiminished echo
Still delightfully stern and unyielding
Now flaunting glamour and poise
A new-old presence reinvented again
Between grid-locked cars
Joy bursts out at stony walls
A face this serious can only be pretending
One tickle and here's a laugh
It's flooding back to me
I remember how to dance through this
Lilac trees invite
Red stars in the night
Vibrating with stored knowing
A constant landmark for our stories
Yours, and mine
Of course - you were my mentor!
Shaping my young years
Being the anarchy of aliveness
A love of many lifetimes
We must know each other well
Connecting so deeply
Your love-flow flavour
Comes spontaneously to my lips
I am here, now
Dissolving the distance between us
In the awe of your embrace
I am always young
Do we need a song? Hmmmm. Too much choice. I think on this occasion a traditional one...
I promised myself a while back, if I ever got a taste of enlightenment, I'd try to describe what it feels like.
Because if you're on a path, I think it's helpful to know what you're aiming for.
And because despite everything, I didn't really find a good description anywhere, or at least anything that resembled what my experience was like in order to explain it.
So my question was, either those doing the talking are missing something, not sharing, or on a different trajectory.
Words like 'bliss', 'peace', 'rapture' and 'ecstasy' get flung around, but what does that actually mean? 'Ecstasy' is a word invented by people who don't experience a lot of it, and we just have to make do with inadequate vocabulary.
It's my belief that in the higher realms there are probably entire languages devoted to expressing the many flavours, tones, harmonics, subtleties and varieties of love experience.
I've been reminded recently how good it actually is.
peaceful, passionate, playful,
tender, physical, total, dissolving,
ecstatic, rapturous, prayerful,
blissful, kissful, ravishing, caressing,
extinguishing, re-birthing, romantic...
And much more (like I said - inadequacy of words)
It's not just about chasing inner peace.
And I reckon that's worth a bit of inner work and meditation...
On International Women's Day I have a question...
So tell me:
How many times better
Than you must I be
To be accepted as your equal?
An A-lister, to your B
The only thing you understand
Is my tough love
And you wonder why
We are struggling to be free
If I love you
If I admire you
I can't be serious
If I'm nice
You underestimate me
(Consider it a friendly warning
But don't do that...)
I make it look easy
And instead of virtuosity
You see nothing
I can keep pulling it
Out of the bag
But this is getting boring
And it would be more fun
To ride with you
So I'll ask again
As if to a friend
How many times better
Than you must I be
With my bountiful skills
In my feminine guise
To be considered your equal?
I have some more questions....
When female leaders are strong, they attract a lot of criticism.
Or when they are perceived as weak, or just because they're there.
They can be described as being 'masculine', 'ruthless', 'even worse than men' etc etc.
I think we are still finding out what true female leadership looks like. How a woman would lead if truly allowed to follow her own inclinations...
Is it possible to lead from a place of raw, unpolished vulnerability?
Is it possible to guide from a place of feeling and pain?
To what extent can a woman be sensual?
Which qualities might you 'borrow' from each of these female leaders (below)? Which would you decline on? Are you judging them or loving them? Which other powerful women do you admire?
(Top left clockwise: Baroness Thatcher, Catherine the Great, Queen Elizabeth I, Inanna)
I seem to be developing criteria for songs which make it onto this blog, one of which is 'makes hair stand on end'. I could easily not add any commentary to this video, and just say 'ooooh', but in the interests of un-splaining, just a few thoughts....
We are all manifestations of the ONE
The ONE has many lovers
We all remember each other
We are all eternally COOL with this
We are all healed
We are all friends
The poignancy adds to the ultimate ecstasy
We are all
confidence - freedom - passion