I’m sitting in the movie theater with Jon watching Wonder Woman and I can’t stop thinking how much the story is like that of the Hindu Goddess Kali and the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet.
The night before I was reading about both goddesses in Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book Goddess in Older Women. I was familiar with both Kali and Sekhmet but reading Bolen’s interpretation of their stories was the first time I understood them on a personal level.
They’re all about these very powerful goddesses who are called to fight an evil that is threatening to destroy the world. And they’re the only ones who can do it.
In the stories of Kali and Sekhmet, they both become obsessed with killing and can’t stop. Eventually, with the help of some of the gods, they realize that if they don’t stop, they’ll be the ones destroying the world. In the movie, Wonder Woman never looses herself in this way.
Although tempted and provoked, she is always able to balance her power with her belief in the goodness of mankind. She is always able to return to herself. The goddesses needed help pulling themselves back from the abyss, but Wonder Woman could do it by herself, she knew when to stop being ferocious.
But the message is the same. Power and anger can easily become obsessive, and without wisdom is ultimately destructive. This weekend, this movie, this story, the journeys of the goddesses had particular relevance for me.
I’ve wondered about the goddess Kali and the violence she invokes. But she is also known as Kali-Ma. Her rage is that of a protective mother. And like Sekhmet and Wonder Woman, they use their power to defend and protect those being attacked. Their anger is a just anger.
Anger has always been part of the fuel that drives and nourishes me.
All of this was running though my mind as I was thinking about the Open House and all I needed to do to prepare for it. I was feeling the obsession of not being able to stop working.
Once I begin, I am driven by forces beyond my consciousness, just like the goddesses.
Earlier in the day I literally had to unplug my sewing machine and move it off my desk to keep me from making more potholders. By 9pm, after working all day I realized, like a blood thirsty Sekhmet, I couldn’t stop.
I just kept going from one task to another.
And although it was productive, it no longer felt good. It was as if my body was a machine I couldn’t turn off and my mind was on a rampage.
But knowing the story of Kali and Sekhmet actually made me think that I had to come back to my senses. The obsessive energy I was feeling was powerful, but it was out of control and had the potential to become destructive. I get angry, and upset and exhausted, it feels like I am devouring myself. I can’t think straight.
I needed to go inside myself and seek my inner wisdom.
I needed to stop.
So like Kali and Sekhmet, I got some help. I told Jon how I was feeling and told him I needed help to stop working. He looked startled.
He suggested reading and maybe a glass of wine. But I knew I had to figure this one out by myself. By then I was exhausted. Just saying how I was feeling, out loud, to Jon was enough to break the spell. Self-awareness has become a powerful weapon for me.
I went to bed and fell asleep almost immediately.
I’m going to be thinking about Kali and Sekhmet and Wonder Woman in the coming week as I get ready for the Open House.
As a reminder not to let my obsessive tendencies get in the way of the original intention of the Open House, which is about bringing people together through creativity and openness. I think I know how to pull myself back now. I am grateful for Kali and Sekhmet and Wonder Woman. I finally have the right role models to help me understand myself and my life.