Whether he dances in the forest of my heart, howls in the dark nights of my soul, meditates on mountain tops inside my head, retreats to his cave, takes the seat of the teacher, or roams the cremation grounds of my life’s deaths, Siva is by far my favorite masculine deity. 


(not a gender thing, but rather a code, an energy, a coalition of qualities) 


I am a sucker for metaphor. Myths and archetypes help me understand myself better, weave myself into who I am more fully, and anchor me in something greater than my own self. 


It’s on days like I’ve had this week, when I feel the funk levels rising, and the grump soaring to new heights, that having some Siva riding on his bull in my mind can help me cope.


I can see that some of the things that I perceive as blocks on my path are just simply bullshit. 


I can remind myself that I don’t need to be bullied by my own disempowered conversations. That I can transform my relationship with the heavy, stubborn beast inside of me, and turn the creature into my vehicle, instead of being run by it. 


I can contemplate the life giving qualities of the bull and the cow, and allow myself to be nourished by their gifts.


I can relish the play between domestic and wild reflecting back to me through the bull’s eyes. This resonates with me so deeply right now, as a free spirit dancing in the body of a homemaker.


Siva isn’t the guy you bring home to your mother. No matter how cool your mother is, she will think you deserve better. There’s something about a bagger who uses a skull as a begging bowl… 


He’s the energy inside of you that bursts with rebel flames. Naked and covered in ashes. Wearing nothing but a tiger skin loincloth. He’s the parts of you that question the status quo. He’s the drums you never got to play as a teenager, or the hair you never dared to dread. He’s the art that bangs inside your walls, begging to be poured out. And the artistry that is here to midwife the artist.


Siva’s character wants to be left alone. He wants to play air guitar in his man cave, while listening to Pearl Jam. He wants to meditate his life away. To smoke some good weed and go frolic in nature. He does not want to be bothered with life. Or with people. He wants nothing to do with responsibilities. 


Oh my! As a mama I so wanna go to my man cave sometimes. Fuck the dishes. Fuck the laundry. Just let mama meditate in nature.


He’s the part of you that is bored with routine. That doesn’t want to deal with the shit you need to deal with. The part of you that gets really grumpy by Tuesday afternoon, not quite sure how you’ll get through to Friday. He’s the energy inside of you that isn’t willing to give in to the domestic slavory of family life. Frustrated with all the chores. Cranky about the mundane.


He reminds you that it’s ok to be in a funk. He’s the motherfucking almighty badass universe, and he feels agitated by day to day living. He lives on the outskirts of society, telling us that it’s acceptable to not feel like we belong in mainstream. Or any stream for that matter. There’s an entourage of outsiders that follows him around – ghosts and goblins and vampires – he is inclusive. Not afraid of his shadows, reminding us to integrate all of our parts.


He’s depressed about the state of the world. Furious about the lack of justice, the disrespect towards the natural world, the mistreating of the feminine, the queer, and people of color. He wants to bring his gang and start a riot –  break things, destroy the world, burn some shit down. 


And then he disassociates because he just can’t take it anymore. 


He’s the part of you that wants freedom from all of this. 


He just wants to get high. 


That’s why he likes the mountains. 


She – the goddess – calls him home. 


She lures him out of the cave and back to the house. 


She meditates with such rigor that he is pulled out of his own meditative state, and falls, yet again, into his love and desire for her. 


She seduces him from the cremation grounds into the bedroom. From dust to fluid. From death to life. 


She usually lets him win when they play dice. But every once in a while she has to win, so that the world can keep on going. She is, after all, the forces that spin the planet around the sun. The fierce power that causes the sun to burn. The energy that spirals the galaxy into existence. The spark and the vibration that pushed the universe from potency to form. 


If it wasn’t or her, Siva would be in a state of bliss and nothing would exist.


She reminds him that it’s valuable to follow your bliss, but that the paths you take in life must include some other experiences. That you cannot stay in the state of ecstasy all the time. You must have all the experiences. You can escape for the afternoon, but you have to come back and reengage with life. She doesn’t just have a crowd of shadows that follows her around – she becomes darkness itself. She becomes Kali – the all inclusive, big love, big soup of life and death. 


Sakti teaches Siva to love. Again and again. To love life. To love living. To love wholly and holy. 


If we are to love life, to love each other, to love this world – we need to engage it all. Building walls, ghosting, disassociating, turning away – from our feelings, from tough conversations, from hard situations, form the ugliness of humanity, from our own flaws – you know, that’s only gonna take us so far in matters of love.   


Love is commitment. Love is work. Love is the biggest gift we can give and receive, but if it’s to go deep and wide, it demands that we show up, participate, draw clear boundaries, make them fluid, let things in, let things go, and make space for the difficulties and the darkness to be woven into the beautiful and the ecstatic – complex, comingled, connected.   


Getting high on a mountain is a breath of sanity every once in a while. And love – for as long as we’ll follow it – will always show us the way back home.