In the Hindu mythology, Shakti represents the creative energy of life. It is another name for the Kundalini energy that has its originating point at the base of the spine, in the root chakra. When awakened, this energy climbs up through the spine all the way up to the crown chakra, infusing the body with energy, wisdom and vitality beyond belief.
Shakti and Shiva
Shakti is, in Indian mythology, another name for Parvati or Devi, Lord Shiva’s beloved consort. While Shiva represents supreme consciousness and wisdom, Shakti represents that consciousness manifested in physical form. Just as women bring new life into the earth, so does Shakti bring Shiva’s divine energy to every aspect of life. And just as human race would become extinct without women giving birth, so it would also become extinct without Shakti energizing and putting everything into action.
Just as in the Yin/Yang duality, the Shiva/ Shakti duality speaks about the importance of embracing both the feminine and the masculine inside. We are all half Shiva and half Shakti, we are all both an idea and the representation of that idea put into action.
Shakti is also used as a name for the feminine energy and power. In his book, “Shakti Mantras: Tapping into the Great Goddess Energy Within”, Thomas Ashley-Farrand brings together stories and legends that talk about the power of the feminine energy, as well as chanting practices meant to invoke the Divine feminine within.
Shakti as the energy of the cosmos
It is not without significance that the energy that gives life to the Universe has a feminine representation. After all, it is a latent force that is patient and grounded (two feminine qualities). It is also a force that can only be awakened by committing to a process of inner growth. This process is deeply rooted in intuition, in listening to the body and into practices of love and self-acceptance.
Shakti is the one that makes you talk and walk, that makes you reason and makes you feel, that makes you laugh and cry. This energy makes your body move and allows your body to be still. And Shakti is the one that helps you go deep inside yourself and reveals to you the truths of the world. It is the connection between you and the divine. The way to Shiva, the way to a more conscious, purposeful life, is done only through Shakti.
In yoga, it is believed that we are dealing with three forms of Shakti energy:
- Prana Shakti – the energy that governs our physical actions and gives our body the vitality it needs to function properly.
- Chitta Shakti – the energy that deals with our mental states, our intellectual processes, and our emotions.
- Atma Shakti – the energy that helps us raise our consciousness and get closer to the Divine.
The union between Shiva and Shakti happens when the Shakti energy (also known as Kundalini) rises from the root chakra (the seat of Shakti) and reaches the crown chakra (the seat of Shiva, the universal consciousness). Shiva and Shakti are the two sides of the same coin, and one cannot exist without the other. In her sacred union with Shiva, Shakti represents more than just a partner of the opposite sex, she is the energy that translates consciousness, truth and knowledge into what we call our human reality.