On Becoming a Dakini
In 2000, just having emerged from six months of psychosis, I moved into a one-room house on a dirt road at the outskirts of Budapest. My spacious, private yard had an apple tree and a walnut tree. Shamoo, the neighborhood dog, acting as my guardian, slept on my porch every night. It was a perfect home in which to be lost in an ocean of consciousness. I was so grateful.
My landlord was a university philosophy teacher, named Fifu. Just after I moved in, Fifu told me a story about the “curse of the Dakini.” He first had to explain to me what a Dakini was. Below is a sketch of the Dakini adapted from Wikipedia:
“The Dakini, a Tantric Buddhist concept particularly prevalent in Tibet, is a female being, generally of volatile temperament, who acts as a muse for spiritual practice.
“Many stories of the Mahasiddhas in Tibet contain passages where a Dakini comes to perturb the would-be Mahasiddha. When the Dakini's test has been fulfilled and passed, the practitioner is often then recognized as a Mahasiddha, and may be elevated into the Paradise of the Dakinis, a place of enlightened bliss.
“It should be noted that while a Dakini is often depicted as beautiful and naked, they are not seen as sexual symbols, but as symbols of natural humans. There are instances where a Dakini has come to test a practitioner's control over his or her sexual desires, but the Dakini itself is not a being of passion. A more common symbolism is that the nakedness represents the freedom from all obscuration and defilements.
“The Chinese and Tibetan terms for dakini literally mean "she who travels in the sky"; this is sometimes rendered poetically as "sky dancer" or "sky walker." Invariably, their bodies are depicted curved in sinuous dance poses.”
As Fifu described the Dakini to me, I ascertained it was related to the avatar of the Queen of Heaven (see “The Queen of Heaven” link on the homepage), which I had been consciously becoming for six months.
Several weeks prior to my familiarization with the Dakini through Fifu, I had even had visions of a personification of myself as the type of sinuous sky dancer referred to in the above Wikipedia entry. The visions were quite fearsome. I felt as if I would lose myself to their reality and could glimpse them only for a moment before having to block them out.
During the same period, in a vision I had of Jesus Christ Superstar, his countenance and manner were quite similar to those of the sky-dancer Dakini in my other vision.
In the story of the Dakini that Fifu told, an accomplished, young monk goes to an inn for something to eat. The monk does not realize the woman serving him is a Dakini. The plate of food she gives him is “rancid” (Fifu’s word). The monk says, “Excuse me, Miss. I cannot eat this food. It’s rancid.”
The Dakini replies, “You don’t like my food? I curse you to be satisfied with what you get, and to live without choice about what is given you, for the next fifteen years.”
As I subsisted without choice or opportunity for years to come, and recalled Fifu’s story, I came to identify with its hapless monk and saw my feminine wholeness as the monk’s Dakini. Her curse would shadow me until I had duly synthesized my female identity.
My destiny to be an avatar for a Dakini is referred to in the below dream, which I had in 1998. In the dream, the Tibetan Buddhist origin of the Dakini is alluded to in the phrase “a certain, obscure religious sect”:
A great teacher tells me that everyone is looking outside themselves for a name so that they can tell the world they are one thing or another, thus fusing their identity to something solid and agreed on by everyone as perceivable. The great teacher found his own name. His philosophy and practises resemble those of a certain, obscure religious sect, but really, as he is—as everyone ultimately is—he is totally unique in the world. Religion is relative to him. There is no need for him to alter himself artificially for the sake of religion.
From my 1998 perspective, Tibetan Buddhism was no more than “a certain, obscure religious sect.” Presently, I do not know a great deal more about Tibetan Buddhism than I did then. I am not an encyclopedia of religion. Rather, I am a master of it. What I know of it is synthesized into a paradigm of global religion. Currently, Tibetan Buddhism is not “obscure” to me insofar as it edifies my identification with the Dakini.
In becoming myself, I metaphorically dug all the way through the Earth, came out in Tibet, digested the meaning of the Dakini and ascertained I was an avatar of one. My self-identification as a Dakini is not something contrived or concocted. Indeed, in paraphrase of the above dream, there is no need for me to alter myself artificially for any reason. Instead, of looking for a mask to put on so that I may—quoting the dream, “fuse my identity to something solid and agreed on by everyone as perceivable,” I keep to my path.
On my path, I identify most essentially with the knowledge in the heart of Catholicism. Instead of this diminishing the relevance of non-Catholic religions, it makes them more vital, beautiful and indispensable.
As I identify myself as Dakini in Tibetan Buddhism, so do I as the Queen of Heaven in Catholicism. I consider myself as evolving into an embodiment of the divine feminine as it is manifest in a given religion. Thus I identify myself as a pan-religious nun.
The text below is from a website called “Dakini Land,” which has a marvelous gallery of dakini images:
“Superficially the Dakini embodies the spirit of female wrath, she appears to dance in a wild frenzy, bent on destruction chaos and transformation. She is naked except for a necklace of skulls around her neck. The skulls are those of her slain victims. In her right hand she holds a vajra or knife. In the left she caries a skullcup, it is filled with blood which she drinks. In most images of the Dakini she is seen dancing on the corpse of a human.”
The identification of my female self as a Dakini has colored many episodes of my story. For example, in early 1999, I drew the Queen of Swords from the Tarot. The Queen of Swords was the beheading Dakini, reflecting that I was undergoing the transformation of my ego. The self I was then—and all my other imbalanced selves—are represented by the skulls the Dakini wears on her necklace. The Dakini’s love and kindness behead the hatred and cruelty of the world within her. The force of the Dakini’s love and kindness is irresistible and as immanent as death.
Regarding the Dakini dancing on corpses, I experienced this firsthand as both the “corpse” and the dancer (see “A Ten-Hour Meditation” in the Evolution of the Peacock link). As a male, I became as still as a corpse, allowing my female self to literally dance through me, straight from my dreams into waking-life. Though this first happened in one day, over the course of a ten-hour meditation, it has been the central task of my life ever since.
The website, Dakini Land, offers these additional words on the Dakini:
“Initially the images [of the Dakini) may appear repulsive and violent. For those beings who are not attracted to or excited by violence they may legitimately ask themselves what they are doing as a central part of one of the oldest world philosophies which takes very seriously the concept of compassion and loving kindness.
“For those beings who find violence and anger attractive and are attached to such states they may mistakenly see in the Dakini a glorification of wrathful violence, particularly as manifest in the female form. To view the Dakini on either level is to miss her teaching.
“The Dakini are not bent on mindless destruction or chaos for its own sake. The wrath they embody is towards their own states of anger, greed and delusion, which they and their practitioners seek to cut out and transform. Great energy and determination is needed to achieve this and the violent imagery used shows the energy necessary to cut out the roots of ignorance, greed and delusion.
“Just as St. George cuts the head of the dragon in icons throughout Christendom, so the Dakini severs the heads of beings who are none other than her own demons. To see the Dakini as a being who revels in anger or violence for its own sake is to misunderstand the imagery. Hers is not a glorification of anger and violence but a transformation of it.”
The bitch-goddess of sado-masochism is a personage of the Dakini that forcibly demands attendance to the feminine. Through the bitch-goddess, the feminine compensates for how it is otherwise neglected, abused and exiled to unconsciousness. Clad in this archetype, the Dakini is misunderstood and blindly eroticized.
The bitch-goddess of BDSM appears to claim dominion, but this is illusory. Whatever dominion she claims is no more than an inverted reflection of her banishment from everyday life. She is an archetype that fades in unison with the acceptance of the feminine.
The dominatrix became central to my erotic, feminization fantasies when I was only seven. Throughout my male life her power increased the more I needed her and yet denied her for the sake of sustaining my male identity. In accepting the feminine within myself, the dominatrix in my psyche lost her power. My compulsions and cravings to be subjugated by a dominant woman gradually evanesced. I became the dominatrix, which is to say, I reclaimed her power over me for myself.
The Dakini is the Jungian anima: the woman inside the man. In a perfect world, a man’s anima would be his wife as the Earth is God’s wife. The anima is so undifferentiated from the man who harbors her that she makes up half his XY chromosomes. In the poetry of Genesis, man’s inner-woman is Adam’s rib. This implies that the concept of woman literally came from within God.
Imagine God as a spirit-being who wishes to fashion material beings. For the sake of edifying the consciousness of the beings, God has one embody matter (woman) and the other spirit (man). Starting from this point, God outlines the whole human drama, from Eden to the Apocalypse and beyond.
In God’s scheme, giving consciousness to man’s inner-woman, the Dakini, is essential to giving the beings the perfect whole of divine consciousness, including consciousness of everlasting life.