Varanasi~ *Sacred Rituals of Transformation
Have you ever felt how it is when somebody really sees you?
When there is nowhere left to hide?
This is the way I feel about this city.
A potent masculine gaze that could potentially break you open.
That could potentially elicit everything that stands between yourself and your Truth.
And not just some random truth about yourself; the truth that you hold so dearly that is so precious to you, you want nobody else to know. And you defend this truth at all cost.
The city where Life and Death shake hands.
City of raw Celebration of the eternal Mysteries.
City of a potent masculine Presence.
City of Lord Shiva.
My interest in sacred Rituals of Transformation brought me to this ancient city.
I have always been fascinated by the way different cultures approach Death.
While in the West we shy away from the subject altogether, in India they celebrate it as a sacred passage, an organic part of Life.
The experience of the death rituals is hard to leave you untouched.
Before the burning of the corpse, they anoint the body with oils and flowers, they purify with sacred waters of the Ganga, they circuit the body five times, counterclockwise, one time for each sacred element. Lastly, they invite the element of fire (Agni), to turn it into ashes of Liberation and offer it to the Mother river.
It seems that our culture has a lot to learn from the Hindus understanding of Death and of impermanence; of creating intimacy with Death and probably also with Life.
The wisdom of letting go of our beautiful human costume we’ve been granted just for this one lifetime.
I will never forget the 6am community yoga class next to the River, at Assi Ghat, along with so many Indians of all ages and backgrounds. This one practice was to laugh out loud, which turned into a hysterical laugh.
Hindus, Muslims, Christians we were all looking at each other with childlike eyes, laughing shamelessly at the face of Death.
A good laugh against the inevitable.
Laughing fearlessly, unbashadely.
Without logic, with an open Heart.
This was a catalyzing moment for me, in the city of my Rebirth.
The journey always begins with a Rebirth.