I have lived with that anger, ignoring it, feeding upon it, learning to use it before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my life. Once I did it in silence, afraid of the weight. My fear of anger taught me nothing. Your fear of that anger will teach you nothing, also.
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I have lived with that anger, ignoring it, feeding upon it, learning to use it before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my life. Once I did it in silence, afraid of the weight. My fear of anger taught me nothing. Your fear of that anger will teach you nothing, also. And I have been thinking about the Dark Goddess and her role in the cycles of spiritual death and rebirth.
And I have been thinking about how all of this intersects with spiritual activism and how I want to continue cultivating conversations in my online spaces. My writing is direct, fierce and activating. I write with purpose to tell my truths, and to set fire to old and broken paradigms so that newer, true-er growth can come through. I write to burn down and destroy what is no longer working, so that more love, truth and justice can be experienced by us all.
As a woman on the priestess path, I always find a way of relating my understanding of my soul work back to the archetypes and mythologies of goddesses. It will come as no surprise that I work closely with the goddess in her dark form also know as the Dark Mother, the Dark Woman or the Dark Feminine.
Eventually Ra realised that things were getting out of hand. So he tricked her by pouring 7, jugs of beer and pomegranate juice in her path, which she thought to be blood. When she finally awoke, her bloodlust had dissipated and her rampaging ended. Kali is the goddess of creation and destruction. Death and rebirth. She is a ferocious warrioress who fights against evil and injustice.
In the Hindu religious text called the Devi Mahatmya, Kali is described as being born from the brow of the Goddess Durga during her great battle with the demon Mahishasura.
In order to stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself in front of her path and lay under her feet. Kali was so shocked at this sight that she stopped immediately and stuck her tongue out in astonishment. This surprising act by Shiva finally ended her rampaging and indiscriminate destruction of everything in sight. Why do I share these goddess stories?
What does this have to do with racism, my spiritual activist writing or my work as a priestess? It has everything to do with them. These goddesses are devouring in nature. And from the feedback that I often receive about my work, my writing can feel devouring too. My writing unmasks. It names what we are not supposed to name. It forcefully strips back layers of lies and deception, so that things can be seen, acknowledged and accepted for what they are. It demands nothing less than full truth and integrity.
It is a raging fire, burning down the white towers of injustice. These goddesses had to fight fire with fire. They could not ask nicely. They could not focus on manifesting positivity and hope that they would create what they focused on. They were fighting evil and injustice, for goddess sake! They knew that in order to defeat these forces, they needed to work with their anger. To use it purposefully and unapologetically.
To fully own it. This is what I am doing when I write about racism. As I quoted Audre Lorde saying above - my response to racism is anger. Yes, I am angry. I am angry with the spiritual white women who, instead of using their spirituality for justice, use it to silence and gaslight black women and women of colour.
I am angry with the spiritual white women who invoke the goddess to manifest their best life, but refuse to work with her in her angry, grieving dark form to bring about justice.
I am angry with the spiritual white women who do deep work with their clients on the witch wound or patriarchal wounds, but do not even acknowledge the slave wound of the white supremacy wounds which therefore makes their work extremely white-centered, and negates the very real experiences of their community members who are black or people of colour. I am angry at spiritual white women for a million reasons, and I use my anger to write to them in the hopes of activating awakening and change.
As Audre Lorde says in the talk on anger quoted at the start of this article: "Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.
And when I speak of change, I do not mean a simple switch of positions or a temporary lessening of tensions, nor the ability to smile or feel good. I am speaking of a basic and radical alteration in those assumptions underlining our lives. And I will not apologise for it because it is useful, and it is mine. And, at the same time, it is important to hold in mind the stories of Sekhmet and Kali letting their anger get out of control and destroying everything in sight without discernment or wisdom.
When it becomes bloodlust. When it becomes bullying, shaming and unnecessary aggression. When it begins to use you, instead of you using it. This anger is not helpful and is not the type of anger I want to work with or encourage.
This is why when we are using anger, we must be mindful in our use of it. So that in our trying to devour systems and ideologies of oppression, we do not end up devouring ourselves and the humanity of others in the process.
As someone who works so closely with anger and the goddess in her dark form, this is a lesson that I must continuously be learning. As a black woman who has been conditioned to bite her tongue and stuff her anger back inside herself for survival in white-centered and male-centered spaces, allowing myself to feel and express my anger is one of the most liberating and empowering things that I can do.
However I do not wish to allow my anger to turn into unconscious and self-destructive harm. So this is a tightrope I am always walking and a paradigm that I am always exploring: How can I rightfully and righteously express my anger as a black woman, a dark goddess priestess and a spiritual activist writer, without allowing my anger to devolve into attack, aggression and unconscious rage?
How do I know when I am consciously using my anger to create change, or when I am destructively using my anger to do harm?
How do I know when my anger is coming from my power as a black woman, or when it is coming from my wounds as a black woman? One serves, one destroys. I pray that as often as possible, I can come from a place of service and not destruction. And I ask that when you interact in my online spaces, you try as often as possible to come from a place of service rather than destruction, too.
Messages like this are harmful and perpetuate the very oppression that we are trying to free ourselves from. It also does NOT mean white women avoiding their responsibility of directly calling a thing a thing because they fear what it will do to their reputation or brand.
Messages like this give white women an excuse to hide behind, when what we really need are white women willing to step up more and put their reputations and brands on the line in the name of justice. What it does mean however is checking your intentions and asking yourself - am I writing to serve, or am I writing to destroy?
Ultimately, only YOU can know when your anger comes to serve or to destroy. And I will call you and myself in when I feel our anger is not being of service, or when it feels like the bloodlust of our anger is doing unnecessary harm.
But this is the thing about doing this work. There are no neat boxes or easy-to-follow instructions on how to get this right. And the dynamics of white supremacy, white privilege, the historical and modern-day silencing of black women and women of colour, and the use of the internet as a means of mass communication mean that the answer is rarely ever going to be that straight forward.
In practicing our uses of anger through this work, I pray that we will continue to grow and learn together - with truth, justice and love as our teachers. What I do know for sure is that at this point in history, we need anger. And like the dark goddesses Sekhmet and Kali, we must use our anger to dismantle the evil and injustices of racism.
As I finish up this essay, I want to say one last thing about Sekhmet and Kali. Though both of these goddesses are described as terrifying, destructive and devouring, what we must also remember is that they have other sides to them that are healing and nurturing. She was the patron of physicians and healers, and her priests became known as skilled doctors. It was said that for her friends, she could avert plagues and cure diseases. She was just as much a healer as she was a destroyer. As for Kali, she is often referred to lovingly as Mother Kali.
And although she is a fierce destroyer, it is thought that the impetus behind her destruction is to make space for rebirth. The darkness that she represents is often likened to the warm and unfathomable darkness of the womb.
Though she destroys, she also creates. And without her destruction, creation could not take place. She devours all that is not working for us - fear, darkness, unconscious anger, self-destructive behaviour and injustice. Her devouring makes way for the birth of that which can better serve us. I share this last part to remind us that the goddesses, like us, are complex and multidimensional. We are not always angry, always rageful, always devouring.
We are loving and healing and nurturing, too. And what may look like on the surface to be uncontrolled anger, destruction and rage may actually be truth, justice and love. While Sekhmet is from the Ancient Egyptian pantheon, Kali is part of a religion that is alive and thriving, with over a billion adherents worldwide. I want to make it clear that when I speak on Kali, I am not speaking as an expert or a worshipper. She is not mine to claim as my own.
Despite that, I want to make it very clear that she is not mine to own, and my intention is never to act as if she is. Thank you.
At the age of four, she learned to talk while she learned to read, and her mother taught her to write at around the same time. She wrote her first poem when she was in the eighth grade. Born Audrey Geraldine Lorde, she chose to drop the "y" from her first name while still a child, explaining in Zami: A New Spelling of My Name that she was more interested in the artistic symmetry of the "e"-endings in the two side-by-side names "Audre Lorde" than in spelling her name the way her parents had intended. She spent very little time with her father and mother, who were both busy maintaining their real estate business in the tumultuous economy after the Great Depression. When she did see them, they were often cold or emotionally distant. Also in high school, Lorde participated in poetry workshops sponsored by the Harlem Writers Guild , but noted that she always felt like somewhat of an outcast from the Guild.
Audre Lorde Quotes About Anger
Poetry Is Not a Luxury. This angre uses Akismet to reduce spam. And although she is a fierce destroyer, it is thought that the impetus behind her destruction is to make space for rebirth. Remedios: The Uses of Anger It must be direct and creative, because it is crucial.
(1981) Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”
AUDRE LORDE THE USES OF ANGER PDF